Creighton’s Corner: Successful Adventuring

I remember repeatedly reading pages 107 – 109 of the AD&D Player’s Handbook almost thirty years ago in an attempt to not die as much as I was. Over almost thirty years of game play I reckon I’ve learnt a fair amount about how to survive a dungeon crawl (or other danger-filled adventure). Of course, this learning has been pretty haphazard.

Recently, though I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the principles of successful adventuring and how to provide a general structure to enhance the chances of a successful delve (or whatever). Luckily, there is a lot of help out there! Some of the best principles I’ve found come from the British Army. Of course, you need to modify them slightly – they are after all designed for a large, modern fighting force and I’m applying them to a small four – six man team but by and large they are a fantastic resource for adventurers (in any edition or game) to draw upon.

Selection and Maintenance of the Aim

A single, unambiguous aim is the keystone of a successful foray. Selection and maintenance of the aim is the master principle of adventuring.

Maintenance of Morale

Morale is a positive state of mind derived from inspired leadership, a sense of shared purpose and values, well being, perceptions of group worth and cohesion.

Offensive Action

Offensive action is the practical way in which a group of adventurers seek to gain advantage, sustain momentum and seize the initiative.


Security is the provision and maintenance of an operating environment that affords the necessary freedom of action, when and where required to achieve the objective.


Surprise is the consequence of shock and confusion induced by the deliberate or incidental introduction of the unexpected.

Concentration of Force

Concentration of force involves the decisive, synchronised application of superior fighting power to realize intended effects, when and where required.

of Effort

Economy of effort is the judicious exploitation of manpower, material and time in relation to achievement of objectives.


Flexibility – the ability to change readily to meet new circumstances – comprises agility, responsiveness, resilience, acuity and adaptability.


Cooperation entails the incorporation of teamwork and a sharing of dangers, burdens, risks and opportunities in every aspect of delving.


To sustain a force to generate the means by which its fighting power and freedom of action are maintained.

Next Time

Next time, I’ll talk a little bit about some different starting bundles to make mundane equipment a bit easier!

About the Designer

Creighton is a keen gamer who passionately believes in the Open Gaming License and is dedicated to making his games as fun and easy to enjoy as possible for all participants. Reducing or removing entry barriers, simplifying pre-game prep and easing the GM’s workload are the key underpinning principles of the products he releases through Raging Swan Press.

Over the last 11 years, Creighton has worked with Expeditious Press, Paizo and Wizards of the Coast. He now releases his own products through Raging Swan Press. You can read his thoughts on game design at

Creighton lives in Torquay, England where, apparently, the palm trees are plastic and the weather is warm. He shares a ramshackle old mansion with his two children (“Genghis” and “Khan”) and his patient wife. Famed for his unending love affair with booze and pizza he is an enduring GREYHAWK fan.

[Editor’s Note: Creighton has graciously offered the opportunity for U.S. readers to check out this series of columns originally posted at the UK Roleplayers site about a year ago. It first appeared here on 15-OCT-2011. Here is the previous article in the series.]

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