How Not to Be Eaten, and Other Sage Advice for a First-Level Character

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Hail and well met, my would-be adventurer!

We here at the Hallowfield Adventurers’ Guild have been training, equipping, and licensing dungeon-raiders, caravan guards, and others of upwardly-mobile and violent stock since the reign of King Trevor the Highly Adequate. In that time, we’ve seen hosts of adventurers pass through our halls. Some went on to titanic success, while others ended up as bits of gristle stuck in the teeth of kobolds. To help novice fortune-hunters such as yourselves, we have put together this following list of do’s and don’ts culled from the annals of the guild archivist.

1.1: In a Village

  • Be polite
  • Pay your debts
  • Obey local laws, customs, and religious sensibilities
  • Beware of pretty girls, handsome boys, cheap ale, and fleatrap boarding houses
  • Keep an eye out for hidden conspiracies, cults, and undead infestations

1.2 DO NOT

  • Slaughter the mayor, even if he says you smell like an undead wereskunk after a week on the road. Remember, the sharp end of a sword is not the solution to every problem.
  • Convert insincerely to the local religion. Even the smallest of gods has a long reach, and longer memories. Just ask the ghost of Sir Gladly Bellows.
    • Sir Gladly Bellows blasphemed the Green Lady of the Wood after converting to her religion, and She cursed Sir Gladly with the runs, to which he eventually succumbed. The curse did not end with his death, and his ghost is now damned to haunt the privy houses along Dauphin Street until the crack of doom.

2.1: On Buying & Selling

  • Obey the King’s Laws for Weights & Measures
  • Deal honestly and forthrightly with all
  • Buy foodstuffs, rope, flint, tinder, and a tent
    • More novices have starved to death than ever met their end in battle

2.2: DO NOT

  • Sell your fellows into slavery, no matter how much gold the traders offer for the elf
  • Overburden yourself with weapons, armor, or other instruments of war
    • They are always the first things purchased, and the first things tossed away when you fall overboard, find yourself pursued by a fleet pack of dire wolves, or starving in desolate mountains. Remember, you can’t eat a great axe. Pack accordingly.

3.1: On the Road

  • Post a night guard
  • Watch for choke points such as bridges, bends, and canyons; they make excellent spots for an ambush
  • March in fighting order
    • Have the fighter go first, even if the rations make her gassy.

3.2: DO NOT

  • Hide the wizard’s spell components in the field latrine
    • She won’t think it’s funny, and neither will you when she refuses to heal your sucking chest wound.
  • Waste time being stealthy
    • Wandering monsters, bandits, zombie outbreaks, berserker hill tribes, and ill-behaved children are all attracted to adventuring parties like a dwarf to a booster seat.
    • Adventuring parties always find themselves improbably favored by ill-fortune. It appears to be a natural law the why of which our wise men have not yet discovered…

4.1: In Battle

  • Be unrelenting against your foe
  • Realize some adversaries are beyond you, such as undead beholders. Unless you enjoy the sensation of disintegration, obey the following procedures:
    1. Run
    2. Run faster
    3. Repeat above steps as needed
  • Be just, yet merciful

4.2: DO NOT

  • Make a deal with a demon. Ever. Even if you are on fire, sinking in quicksand, or being slowly digested in the belly of a yeti. Demons never make things better. Really.

What advice would you give a novice adventurer? Share your thoughts below!

The feature image is “Saturn Devouring His Son” by Francisco Goya, and is in the public domain. All other images from the Bayeux Tapestry. 

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