Where do adventurers rest their heads?
In a rented room at an inn or roadhouse, ideally, many would say; or at least a spot in front of a banked hearth in a not-too-drafty tavern (or the tavern floor of a less than stellar, or an overpacked, inn). Maybe in a traveller’s croft or waystation, if those exist, or even in a lonely homestead’s hayloft. Places where one has at least a fighting chance of warming up (or cooling down) and lying flat on a mattress or at least a tick of straw or hay.
Alas, these are all but fond and wistful daydreams when you’re all six levels deep in a labyrinthine underground nightmare and desperately need to stop for some kind of rest before exhaustion makes you make a stupid, fatal mistake. Sometimes you just need to camp out in the dungeon.
(or you might actually enjoy sleeping over in dungeons. no one here is judging.)
Here’s a few ideas to add to your kit that just might make the idea of a sleepover with the dungeon beasties slightly more bearable:
– Pick the right bedroll. Sure, some fancy thing all lined with fur will, one hopes, keep you toasty even in the dampest, chilliest delve. But here’s the thing: even on the best days, fur attracts even more bugs. And dirt. And it mats. Don’t do that. Bring along a sturdy woolen bedroll — two layers, if you want the bulk, but see below — without bells and whistles. Wool keeps you warm. Get it wet and it still keeps you warm. Easy to wash. Wool is your friend.
– Don’t lace, tie, button, or anything else yourself into that bedroll. If your impromptu camp gets ambushed the last thing you want is to be trapped in your sleeper. Come on now. If you’re worried about the cold, do the two-layer thing, or
– Wrap yourself in your cloak before you crawl in. Or your mantle, or what have you. Not too tightly! You want to get loose after all. Wool’s a good choice here too, by the by; what do you need a fancy silky fur-trimmed cloak for in a dungeon? You’ll just be a target, and you’ll ruin your cloak. Put any spare tunics, bandages or other soft-and-not-ruined-by-squishing objects in your kit into the cloak’s hood and you even have a better-than-nothing built in pillow.
– For the love of gods and demons don’t wear armour to sleep. Yes, yes, ambushes. It’s still a bad idea. You won’t get rested, and you’ll pay for it, and that mail won’t save your sorry behind when you’re too groggy to not get eaten by that grue to begin with.
– Campfire bad. Bed bricks good. This one’s a tricky one, but can be worth trying. Don’t set a fire anyway, though — seriously, do not set a fire in the middle of an enclosed and probably solid stone room. You want to wake up again. What you can do, though, is stuff some embers from a lit torch or two into a stoneware or brick dog, or whatever those cute bed-warming bricks look like this year. That’ll keep you toasty til you nod off.
– Maybe try not to lie on bare dungeon floor. It might be damp, it’s sure to be dusty, it could be stained with blood (or worse), and boy oh boy the gods know what else is waiting on that floor. If you can spare the kit space, bring along some canvas or burlap or other heavier textile, treated with wax or other proofing if you’re really feeling fancy. Spread that out first, then bedroll and be-cloaked you on top of that. Keep your floor tarp in a sack of its own if you can.
There’s other advice that goes without saying, of course; spike any doors closed (make sure you can get the spikes back out if you do this!), set a rotating watch, keep waterskins close, don’t decide to turn a dungeon camp into a party, so on and so forth. Maybe you can even afford fancy magical light or wards! But this here’s a bare-bones survival guide for maybe making the actual sleep part of “sleeping in a dungeon” worth the risk.