A Simple Guide to Saving the Day -Hero’s Handbook
Adventures, Quests, Epic undertakings: Basic rules
1. Never gyp a man in a robe. Guys don’t wear dresses for nothing – if a guy’s got one, it’s for a reason.
2. Always listen to the old man with the long grey beard. He knows what he’s talking about, else he wouldn’t be sitting there giving sage advice with a long grey beard.
3. Always listen to the ugly old woman with the crooked back who likes cats. Although it might be cryptic, the information she’s telling you is absolutely crucial to the successful completion of your mission. However, by no means trust her.
4. In the course of your journey, if someone offers to join you, agree immediately. That’s one extra person for the bad guys to aim at rather than you.
5. If your kid brother/sister demands to be brought along, refuse if you want to, but be ready to rescue them from dire peril when they follow you anyway.
6. Make sure you get anyone at home – the surly old uncle or cold and stern guardian who brought you up, for example – to tell you about any family skeletons before you embark. (e.g.: Your father was an evil dark lord/your parents didn’t die in a boating accident they were murdered/we found you abandoned on a dark rainy night with that there crown shaped birthmark)
7. Don’t drop your sword.
8. Take a spare sword, just in case.
9. If you don’t see the body and check the pulse, they’re not dead.
10. If someone says “The enemy has an army ten thousand strong, I have seen it!” Believe them, even if everyone else is saying “Ridiculous, there is no such force in the world!”. Best to be prepared just in case they’re not crazy.
11. When offered drinks on the house at any inn whose owners you don’t know personally, accept them and thank the landlord and barmaid most profusely, then quietly empty the drinks onto the floor and hastily find another inn.
12. The bearer of a single item of great power is always in trouble, but the safest place to keep it is with your pesky little animal companion, because it will (sadly) never get captured. If you don’t have an animal companion, try the youngest and cheekiest member of the party. Otherwise, you could try concealing it in your old advisor’s facial hair, because that’s so random the enemy might not think of it.
13. Be patient with your wise old “advisor”. Yes, he does know the whole plot, and is waiting for the most dramatic time to unravel it, but there is nothing you can do about this. At all.
14. Horses are absolutely invaluable. Always try to have a horse. The only reason to abandon your horse is if you find a steed with wings.
15. Nothing will attack your camp at night UNLESS you fall asleep on watch. They may outnumber you, but they won’t move a muscle unless the watchman dozes off. So if you get bored, you can bring on some action quite quickly by just snoozing.
16. Whoever has the map should spend all his spare time not leading you making copies. One copy that is a hundred percent accurate, to be kept in the same place as your item of power, in case you lose the original. Also make as many copies as you like with deliberate mistakes (such as mixing up Sunny Glade and the Fire Pits) for the enemies to find.
17. If two members of your party keep arguing, shut them in a room together for about an hour, and check on them after that to see if the sexual tension has finally snapped. If not, get them out quick. If so, pretend to be surprised.
18. Suspect a trap at all times. Better to be the suspicious one than the dead one. And then one day when you do strike lucky and they actually are trying to trap you, you can hold it over the others forever.
19. Be prepared, because there is a high chance that the most powerful warrior and the only magic user will be knocked out almost immediately during the final battle, leaving you alone to face the Dark Lord. As useful as they’ve been so far…
20. Disguises are easy. Get a load of really long wigs, speak in tuneful voices, and use long archaic words, and voila! One instant party of elves. For true authenticity, practice feminine walking and carry out loud conversations about plants and nature. If you have an elf with you, get it to wear black, and paint stubble on it (even if it’s a lady) and nobody will suspect a thing.
21. Don’t upset the gypsy girl.
22. If your enemy’s still sitting there calmly while you throw everything you’ve got at him then A: Run B: Consider your choice of enemies more carefully in the future.
23. Don’t be surprised.
24. It’s worth spending that little bit extra on some really top class boots, because you will need to run at some point.
25. When creating “diversions”, before you send off some poor soul wearing a “Capture Me” t-shirt, never forget the distractive power of fire.
26. If the Princess is nasty to you, it’s because she wants you (if you’re a guy) or your boyfriend (if you’re a girl. Or maybe even if you’re a guy, I suppose.) to be her first. Or at least she’ll tell you it’s her first time.
27. If the Princess is nice to you, it means she’s a gentle and loving soul, and one hundred percent boring. You will probably have to rescue her some time in the future because she hasn’t got the spirit to do it herself.
28. If you suspect you might be in undead territory, remove the heads and hearts of anything dead you pass. Yes, even that thrush. It could get you while you sleep…
29. Don’t even try to leave the thief behind. It won’t work. He’s quicker than you, in several ways.
30. If you’re useless in battle, take great pains to hide it by getting knocked out first, or challenging the most dangerous enemy there, so you have a reason to lose. The rest of the time, use your intelligence to your advantage, and be dark and brooding. It’s a small chance, but it works on occasion.
31. The female warrior is harder than you, just accept it. She will get injured, and moan in a very feminine and helpless way, but this is only because A: she’s trying to seduce you or B: she’s sick of doing all the work, and she wants an excuse to lie on the floor and faint while you do some fighting for once.
32. If you’re a hunter, a ranger, or shepherd, you get caught up in adventurous events, and you don’t have at least ten separate reliable eyewitness accounts that your parents really are your parents, keep an open mind to the fact that you could well be the heir to the throne.
33. If, or possibly when, one of your friends pulls a Gandalf (i.e.: “dies” then comes back) your natural reaction will be to kill them for the trauma they’ve caused you. Your irony instinct will crush this however. So, if you really want vengeance, act completely unsurprised to see them, as they will be expecting praise (Why I dunno, all they did was nearly die). Especially don’t act surprised if this happens more than twice
34. Never believe you’ve found the last trap.
35. Learn how to save your screaming up for later. Once your current adventure’s over, find a nice quiet, secluded place, and scream your terror out for the sky to hear. Do NOT do it when you’re sneaking through the air vents of your enemy’s fortress.
36. If you find that heights like you, do try to learn how to turn into a bird on command. If however this is not possible in your world, I feel your loss and sense of inadequacy, and you’ll have to buy a parachute.
37. When on a boat, just remember: the more sails the better.
38. When on a boat, just remember: no matter how many sails you got, you’ll always need a bigger boat. Still, sails are nice.
39. If you have a quiet moment, it’s a good idea to prepare some stirring speeches, or even a final speech to your enemy at your final duel. Get the old wizard to help you with proper use of thees and thous.
40. There’s no such thing as too much ammo.
41. There’s no such thing as too much gold.
42. There’s no such thing as a trustworthy Grand Vizier.
43. If you run into someone who claims to be with, for example, the assassin’s guild or the torturer’s guild, do NOT say “Okay, prove it!” Just in case they do.
44. Acquire as many names and aliases as possible. You never know when they’ll come in useful.
45. Whoever knows the land, has the power. They have to lead the others through, and hence, are the leader, no matter what anyone else might try and exert. Conclusion: Study as many maps as you can in your free time, to increase your standing among the group.
46. Don’t think about time travel. It doesn’t work. If it’s happening to you that doesn’t change the fact that it don’t work, which means what’s happening is impossible, and thinking about it will drive you insane. So don’t think about it.
47. If you can make the villain’s daughter/son fall madly in love with you, so much the better. It’s a useful talent to have.
48. It is acceptable for women to disguise themselves as men. It is not usually acceptable for men to disguise themselves as women, unless they’re drunk. Perhaps this blatant sexism should be dealt with. Or then again, perhaps not.
49. Look out for bears.
50. Don’t say “I wouldn’t like to meet one of THOSE on a dark night!” because the answer you get will undoubtedly be something like: “Shouldn’t worry about that mister. They travel in packs.”
51. Don’t use the word mystic. You might say “mystic”, and mean “mystic”, but all people hear is “tacky”. It won’t help you in the long run.
52. The prophecy will turn out to be true, whatever happens. It’s all in the wording, FOR EXAMPLE, “No man of woman born shall harm Macbeth” leaves plenty of openings. Macduff was born by Caesarean, technically not born, or Lady Macbeth could’ve done it, or elves, dwarves or halflings, or someone could’ve dropped a giant rock off the castle, and that would’ve done the harming. See?
53. If it’s a sunny day and everyone’s happy, grab your sword and shield and prepare for danger.
54. Do tell your sidekick how much you appreciate him/her from time to time. Or they’ll feel dissatisfied, and go off and make their own solo career, and THEN you’ll be in trouble.
55. Honesty is always good. But so is tact. For instance, if you believe strongly that there is no reliable magic, don’t say so within the mage’s hearing.