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Delving for Dunces

Delving for Dunces

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Published by David Williams
A practical guide to old-school fantasy games
A practical guide to old-school fantasy games

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Published by: David Williams on May 13, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Delving for Dunces

A Practical Guide to looting ancient vaults for fun and profit By Maximo Darvil
Chapter 1 – Low Hanging Fruit Avoid difficult challenges in favor of easy ones. Gold you find in the gutter is worth just as much as gold you steal from the king’s heavily guarded treasure vault. Chapter 2 – Better him than you Henchman, retainers, mercenaries, specialists, sages and war dogs are important contributors to a delver’s success. They provide strength, versatility, expertise, and make it less likely that you’ll be randomly targeted by vicious monsters or be the poor fool who stumbles into a pit. While the upfront cost may be steep, the investment will likely pay off in the long run. Chapter 3 – All’s fair in loot and murder Combat is scary and dangerous. Take every advantage you can. Set ambushes. Douse enemies with flaming oil Prevent charges with caltrops. Blind enemies with bright light. Do anything and everything you can think of to make sure you come out on top. A fair fight is the indication of a lack of proper preparation. Chapter 4 – Talk is cheap, as are cheap things Try to avoid fights if you can. Most creatures don’t want to impale themselves on your sword, and will avoid a fight if they can. Intelligent creatures can and should be bargained with. They are not only the source of valuable knowledge, but also potential allies. You can always betray and murder them later if you want their stuff. Remember, the residents of a delve live in filth and squalor (except for those who live in splendor, obviously). What is worthless junk to you might be a treasure to them. Bribes and trade are not only possible, they’re quite likely. You don’t have to introduce pox with infected blankets, but it’s always an option. Even unintelligent creatures can often be discouraged from attacking with an offer of food. If they’re not hungry, they’re less likely to want to eat you. Chapter 5 – Knowing is half the battle Unless you’re exploring a new frontier, someone probably knows something about what you might encounter. Seek out locals and experienced adventurers. Acquire maps, local legends, and the anectdotes of those who came before. Scout out areas before you blunder in. Divination is best, but a stealthy thief is a decent alternative. Research the strength and weaknesses of the enemies you will likey face.

If you insist on assembling a dragon’s hoard. Also. but secretly wants to you to fail. There will likely be a cost involved. It is wise to convert coins into gems or jewelry. Peer around corners with mirrors. Dust the air with flour to detect invisible threats. but also from LEGITIMATE agencies such as tax-collectors. Leave nothing to chance. Who knows. There is no such thing as too much caution. Check for traps everywhere. Chapter 8 – Goodwill and celebrity Once you start hauling loot and magical paraphernalia back to civilization. but convenience is worth paying for. imagine that every action you take (or don’t take) is being closely scrutinized by an omnipotent entity – let’s call him the DELVE-MASTER – who pretends to be impartial. Chapter 9 – Paranoia is the best kind of mental illness When you’re delving. maybe you can become mayor. while we’re discussing coins. Rusty spears looted from forgotten tombs might make the local militia very happy. Beggars will follow you around. gaining allies and clout. and be sure to write a will. Children will annoy you with questions about your exploits. . Once you’re rich. Find a defensible area in or near the delve and claim it as your own. people will take notice. Your presence will be noted by the locals. Try to get along with the locals. and town bullies will wish to test their mettle in bar fights. you might wish to make small investments in the local community. Tap ahead of you with poles to detect traps or trip-wires. A few dozen coins aren’t likely to be a problem. it is worth noting that you’re not the ONLY murderous thieves in the world. Buy caged canaries to test the air. Look up. but thousands become difficult to lug about. but that will only make it more likely that your delve “allies” will keep their word.Chapter 6 – Priest holes aren’t just for priests If you’re exploring a large delve. not only from muggers. Displaying lots of wealth will attract lots of unwanted attention. Prepare a secret word with companions to confirm that they’re not dopplegangers. Look down. Oh. constantly traveling to and from the nearest settlement is a waste of time and resources. Chapter 7 – Diamonds are a delver’s best friend Coins are pretty and easily spendable – in reasonable quantity. find a nice safe place to bury it.

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