Dungeoneer's Survival Guide

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Dungeoneer's Survival Guide
TSR2019 Dungeoneer's Survival Guide.jpg
Author Douglas Niles
Genre Role-playing game
Publisher TSR
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Pages 128
ISBN 0880382724

Dungeoneer's Survival Guide is a supplement to the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. The book was written by Douglas Niles, and published by TSR, Inc. in 1986.


The Dungeoneer's Survival Guide describes the running of underground adventures in great detail and includes special rules for movement, combat, mining, and skill proficiencies.[1] The book contains a Dungeon Master's section which covers the underground environment and ecology, as well as the cultures of the creatures that live underground.[1] The book also includes information on making three-dimensional maps, and describes a campaign zone called "Deepearth".[1]

The book includes special game rules for underground activities, combat, travel, and mining as well as descriptions of the Underdark and the ecology and cultures of its underground inhabitants. The blurb printed on the rear cover states that the book "opens up grand new vistas in the realms of the underdark, that little-known region of dungeons and caverns far beneath the sunlit world of everyday existence".

The Dungeoneer's Survival Guide includes new proficiencies, as well as ideas for the creation of underground adventures. Characters gain proficiencies by way of "non-weapon proficiency slots", which can be filled with a variety of secondary skills. The book also provides rules on actions such as how well non-thieves climb walls and trees, how far characters can leap across chasms, and how long characters can hold their breath under water.[2]

The book describes different types of caverns, how player characters may find and enter them, and what may be found there. Also described are the effects of natural hazards, such as cave-ins, floods, underground streams, poisonous gases, volcanoes, and lack of oxygen. The book covers the history and relationships of the underground races, and provides advice on how to run interesting underground campaigns.[2]

Publication history[edit]

Dungeoneer's Survival Guide was written by Douglas Niles, with cover art by Jeff Easley, and was published by TSR in 1986 as a 128-page hardcover.[1] The book also features interior illustrations by Doug Chaffee, Greg Harper, Jim Roslof, and Easley.

The book was re-packaged with the new Dark and Hidden Ways adventure pack released in 1990 to try to clear out remaining stock of Dungeoneer's Survival Guide, a first edition AD&D title rendered out-of-date with the release of second edition AD&D.[3]


Jim Bambra reviewed Dungeoneer's Survival Guide for White Dwarf #82, commenting that the book "deserves the attention of all AD&D players – even those who prefer the freedom of the wilderness to the depths of the dungeon".[2] Bambra notes that while the book covers the Underdark in detail, it is also a major expansion of the AD&D rules. He felt that the new proficiencies "add a whole new dimension to AD&D gaming", as PCs "can now do more than just fight and cast spells".[2] Bambra notes that, with proficiencies, characters "are able to make armour and weapons, train animals, cut gems, fight effectively in the dark, climb mountains, swim, and perform many other activities that were simply impossible before ... A skill system is something AD&D has been lacking for a long time, and it is good to see that this one ... fits smoothly and easily into the game."[2] Bambra praised author Doug Niles for creating a sourcebook which "proves that underground adventures can be a lot more than simply killing the monster and grabbing its treasure ... the underground has been transformed from a bleak and dirty dungeon to an exciting and intriguing underground fairyland".[2] Bambra adds that the suggestions on how to run underground campaigns form one of the best discussions on designing adventures, and finds it relevant for any campaign, even those of other game systems. Bambra concludes the review by stating "Dungeoneer's Survival Guide is an excellent product which opens many new and exciting opportunities to adventurers everywhere. Don't be put off by the title - DSG contains plenty for ... even the most adamant of wilderness adventurers."[2]

Additional reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Schick, Lawrence (1991). Heroic Worlds: A History and Guide to Role-Playing Games. Buffalo, New York: Prometheus Books. p. 95. ISBN 0-87975-653-5. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Bambra, Jim (October 1986). "Open Box". White Dwarf (Games Workshop) (82): 2. 
  3. ^ Dungeoneer's Survival Guide Bonus Pack - RPGnet d20 RPG Game Index