Most D&D players began their gaming careers with taking their characters a few hesitant steps into a dark dungeon somewhere in the myriad of gaming universes. Although later adventures took them through vast wildernesses and teeming cities, it is to dungeons that adventurers often long to return.
Although one type of underground environment might seem to be pretty much like another, especially when a character cannot see his nose in front of his face, a wide variety of locations await the character willing to explore his surroundings and press on into deeper and uncharted passageways.
Sometimes equipment can make the difference between survival and death.
If it’s true that equipment is so very important, then there must be merchants near these dangerous areas that are making a living selling such gear. Maybe the merchant is a former adventurer who now sells his wares and advice to the youngbloods headed out for the dungeon. Or maybe the merchant is simply providing goods that are in demand in the area. Either way, the adventurers should be able to locate someone in the area who sells the gear needed for caving, mining, and dungeoneering.
When characters are headed into a dungeon, they may want to consider buying some special equipment to help them during the adventure. A good place to start is probably the standard “Dungeoneer Pack.” A Dungeoneer’s Pack is a bundle of items you can either buy for 12 gp The Dungeoneer’s Pack consists of:
- Backpack (2 gp)
- Crowbar (2 gp)
- Hammer (1 gp)
- 10 x Pitons (5 gp)
- 10 x Torches (0.1 gp)
- Tinderbox (0.5 gp)
- 10/1 Day Rations (1 day) (5 gp)
- Waterskin (0.2 gp)
- 50′ Hemp Rope (1 gp)
However, there are other special equipment that may be useful in a dungeon environment. Here is a list of some of the best things available for characters headed into the deep dark of the dungeons.
Air Bladder: This is an airtight leather sack that can aid characters in many varied situations underground. The bag has two principal purposes: as a flotation device and as a very limited air supply container. Suggested Price: 15 gp.
Beacon Lamp: A beacon is essentially a very bright lantern that is too large to be carried by hand. It must be mounted on some kind of structure, such as a building, wagon, or boat. A beacon can project light in a cone shape up to 240 feet from its source. The cone is only two feet wide at its source, but broadens into a 90-foot-wide fan at its extreme end. Because of its high output, a beacon burns a pint of oil in 10 turns of operation. A beacon can be tightly shuttered so as not to emit even a trace of light. Suggested Price: 40 gp.
Crampons: These are iron spikes that can be attached to a character’s boots. Their function is to provide better footing on ice or other slippery surfaces.Suggested price: 4 gp.
Lard: This common substance is occasionally employed as a lubricant to help large objects, including characters, squeeze through small holes or openings. A character who has been smeared with lard can squeeze through a passageway that is only 80% as wide as the minimum passage needed, as explained under the movement rules. Lard is also mildly flammable, but unlike oil, it burns too stubbornly to function as a weapon. When smeared with lard, a character who sustains any damage from a fire-based attack suffers 2 hp extra damage per round for 1d6 rounds. Lard can also serve as an insulating coating for swimmers who enter very cold water. And, you know, you might be able to feed it to hungry monsters … or something … Suggested price: 5 cp per pint.
Powder, Chalk: This is a white powder that can be used for a wide variety of purposes, limited only by a player’s imagination. A single container holds enough chalk powder to thoroughly cover a 20-foot-square section of floor, or up to eight human-sized characters. If the powder is scattered on the floor, any creatures walking through it leave footprints. When hurled through the air or smashed against a wall, it creates a 10-foot-diameter cloud of dust that settles on all creatures within the area. Suggested Price: 2 sp (Small Bag)
Pulley: This simple machine is typically purchased with a wooden block and a sturdy hook at the top and bottom. In addition to standard pulleys that accept only one loop of rope, there are pulleys that accept two or even three loops of rope. A single pulley allows a character to change the direction of force when lifting or moving something. For example, by pulling down on a rope, you can lift a heavy weight up. Two single-rope pulleys allow the direction of force to be changed, and double the amount of weight that can be lifted. Two. double-rope pulleys quadruple the amount a character can lift. Two triple-rope pulleys increase a character’s lifting ability by six times. Of course, very solid means of attaching the pulleys must be found before they can be used effectively.(Suggested Price: 25 gp)
Also, characters may consider obtaining silver weapons for use against strange and abnormal creatures who may linger and lurk within the dank tunnels of the underground. Although some merchants might offer special weapons made of silver, these weapons may be weak compared to the standard materials that weapons are crafted of like steel. Therefore, characters may be wise to visit the blacksmith and use some of their hard earned silver coins to have their weapons coated in silver.