Look, sometimes the going gets tough, and when that happens the tough get going–far away from battle. Here’s how to join them.
Quick, what’s the one thing nobody ever does in D&D, even if they know better? If you guessed “run away from a fight that has gone awry” you’d be right. Andb that’s despite heroically running away from battle/a situation gone wrong being such a classic fantasy art it made it into the official art for D&D.
That dwarf’s expression gives me life every time I see it. But why do we never get to this point in a typical game? Well, a big part is that you don’t typically realize you’re losing a fight until it’s too late. When your hit points are low, you still fight at full power, so it’s hard to know you’re one bad roll away from your Cleric going down and failing a death save.
Which brings us to the other side of the equation: a lot of the time, when you want to run, one or more party members is downed. But even if you’re all that’s left, here’s five surefire ways to escape a would-be TPK.
The easy answer to most of D&D’s problems is magic, and that’s true here as well. Spells like Expeditious Retreat or Misty Step or Dimension Door can quickly get you out of harm’s way. Even if you aren’t a spellcaster for some reason, magic items like a Cape of the Mountebank can allow anyone a quick teleport to safety when you need it in a hurry.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
One of the big problems with running away is that you might not be able to outrun your enemies. If you can’t, all you have to do is get out of sight. They can’t kill you if they run right past you.
So look for places to hide–big boulders, empty barrels, side rooms, secret doors–even a darkness spell or something like Fog Cloud might keep you out of sight long enough to give them the slip. But if games like Assassin’s Creed have taught us anything, it’s that people looking for you have other things to do.
Cause a Diversion
They can’t catch you if they’ve got other things to worry about. If you set the secret bandit hideout on fire, they suddenly have a lot more to worry about than catching you/dealing those last two HP you have left.
What if your adventure is in a cave, you might be wondering–well what adventurer hasn’t set something non-flammable on fire, inexplicably?
Stopped In Their Tracks
They can’t catch you if they can’t follow you. And if you’re adventuring in a cave, a cave-in is a good way to demonstrate this principle. Basically, you gotta shut the door on your way out, then lock it, and spike it shut so no one behind you can open it. Landslides, chopped trees, overturned carts and the alleyway–basically anything that gets in your pursuers’ way.
If you’re really trying to get away, then you must go faster. One thing you can do is keep a horse outside, or make note of convenient mounts, carts, boats, snow-covered hills good for skiing, even handy waterways or mine cart tracks will do in a pinch.
Hopefully this will keep you out of harm’s way.