Escaping the Dungeon

One of the key features of the Worlds of Adventure campaign is that party makeup is variable between game sessions. This can't work if a session ends while the party is in the middle of a dungeon, however. To avoid this, we use (a slightly modified version of) Justin Alexander's "Escaping the Dungeon" rules, which are presented, with all appropriate modifications, below.

There are three ways in which a gaming session can end:

(1) The players can, at any time of their choosing, make their way out of the dungeon and end the session for the evening.

(2) The DM can, at any time of his choosing, announce that the game will stop in 1 hour. If, by the end of the hour, the PCs have made their way out of the dungeon, the session ends normally.

(3) But if they have not made their way out of the dungeon (for whatever reason), then either (a) everyone in the session can immediately commit to another session within 7 days; or (b) the Escaping the Dungeon! tables will be used to determine their fate.

Table: Escape Check

Situation Chance of Escape
You don't know where you are. 25%
You know where you are. 50%
You have a clear and unhindered path of escape. 75%

CHALLENGE ADJUSTMENT: Adjust the chance of escape by +/– 10% multiplied by the difference between the average level of the local opposition and the level of the character. (For example, a 5th-level character facing level 7 opponents would suffer a –20% adjustment on their chance of escape.

SMALL COMPLEX: If the characters are attempting to escape from a lair or other small complex, increase the chance of success by 10% to 20%.

MAKING THE CHECK: An escape check is made for each character separately. There is always a minimum 1% chance of escape or failure. On a failed escape check, roll 1d10 on the Failed Escape table below.

Table: Failed Escapes

1d10 Result
1 You escape unharmed.
2 You escape but have been injured. You suffer (one-half your level) × 1d6 points of damage. (If this kills you, see result #8.)
3 You have been affected by a poison, disease, or similar affliction.
4 You have been affected by a curse or a persistent magic effect.
5 You have been captured, petrified, or otherwise trapped. Roll the escape percentile again to see if your comrades know where you are. If they do not, roll the escape percentile again to see if your comrades have a clue of some sort.
6 You have become lost.
7 You have been transformed into a monster (undead, lycanthrope, mind controlled, etc.).
8–9 You have died. Roll the escape percentile again to see if your comrades were able to retrieve your body. (Instead of retrieving your body, your comrades may choose to loot it and/or leave it.) If they did not, roll the escape percentile again to see if your comrades know where your body is. If they do not, there is a 50% chance that your body has been utterly destroyed.
10 Opportunity to save ally, at personal cost. (If this result comes up when another party member hasn't already suffered an effect from this table, reroll it.) You can choose to save your comrade from their fate, in which case they escape and you reroll on this table, or leave them to their fate, in which case you roll 1d6 — on a roll of 5–6, you also escape; on a roll of 1–4, you roll on this table. (In either case, reroll any "10" results.)

The results of the Failed Escapes table should be flexibly interpreted by the DM given the exigencies of the specific situation in which the PCs find themselves at the end of the session. The creation of a short fable explaining the events leading to their escape (or lack thereof) — perhaps even one garnering them with some bit of lore or insight into the dungeon complex — would not be out of place.


Escaping the Dungeon