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Escape Rope

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Begin an enchantment that, after 20 rounds, will gracefully and certainly deposit you in the Overworld outside of this area.
Use these 20 rounds to catch your breath or, perhaps, desperately kite whatever is about to devour you.
Scroll of Carefully Escape Dungeon, Dungeonmans

A standard RPG item which allows the player to immediately exit the current dungeon with no questions asked, returning them to a safe harbor so they can treat their party's injuries (and save their game) before attempting another crawl.

Of course, the downside is that it may be a long trip to get back to that point in the dungeon, but this can still be preferable to getting killed outright. Many seasoned adventurers will keep one or two on hand (even if it encroaches on their Inventory Management Puzzle) just in case they run afoul of Demonic Spiders or the Boss in Mook Clothing.

The exact details and restrictions on an Escape Rope will vary depending on the system, but common specifications include:

  • The "safe harbor" is a predetermined location, usually with access to a Save Point and/or Trauma Inn — common destinations include the entrance of a dungeon, a nearby town, a Hub Level or the world map.
  • It only works from inside "dungeon" areas: Creepy forests, marshlands, underground caverns, decrepit ancient temples, etc., which the player explores from the outside inwards. "Overworld" locations such as towns, connecting fields/roads between towns/areas, the Hub Level or the world map itself, usually favor the Warp Whistle instead.
    • Note that if the dungeon is inverted, where the player starts in the middle and traverses outwards, the Escape Rope will probably return them to the middle where they started, or it may not even work at all.
  • It generally won't allow the player to flee from Random Encounters or Boss Battles in progress — especially if a Fight Woosh is used to transition from field movement into battle. (That is usually the job for an Escape Battle Technique.)

Compare and contrast Warp Whistle, which allows instantaneous travel to previously visited locations but generally only works from "overworld" areas like towns; and Escape Battle Technique, which is similar but in battle.

See also Door to Before, where the trip "back" from a dungeon conveniently unlocks a shortcut through the area so the player can make a return trip (and possibly future excursions) without as much hassle.

When lost, see Unable to Retreat.


    Anime & Manga 
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Return spells are a subtype of teleportation magic which use enchanted scrolls or paintings to allow adventurers inside a dungeon to step through them and walk out of another pre-prepared scroll/painting on the surface. It's extremely convenient, as expeditions into dungeons regularly last weeks, but the spell is complicated to perform, and has some risk involved (namely, if the immediate surroundings of the aboveground scroll/painting are disturbed while a person is halfway through, the spell will break and a Portal Cut will ensue).
  • Frieren: Beyond Journey's End: During the mage exam each mage is given a jar with a miniature golem inside. Breaking it will make the golem grow and carry its owner to safety out of the dungeon, being strong and fast enough to survive traps and attackers.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons had the cleric/priest spell "Word of Recall", which returned the user to a specifically (previously) designated sanctuary. The "Succor" spell created an object which allowed anyone breaking it to be teleported the caster's sanctuary.
  • In Exalted, most gods have the charm "Hurry Home", which takes them quickly to their sanctum.

    Video Games 
  • Bug Fables: The Ant Compass allows the party to return to the Ant Mines, the central travel hub of the game.
  • Dragon Quest has the "Evac" spell used for exiting dungeons. It is distinct from the "Zoom" spell, which serves as a Warp Whistle between towns. Humorously, in Dragon Quest IV, in one dungeon your party encounters a Gremlin who tries to flee from you and warn the Big Bad. Unfortunately for him, he casts "Zoom" instead of "Evac" and slams right into the ceiling, knocking himself out cold.
  • One of the main tasks in Dragontorc is to retrieve the four crowns from various dungeons, and return them to Halgor's tomb where they can be destroyed. To make things a little easier, the return spell teleports the player to Halgor's tomb, so they don't have to navigate each dungeon in reverse. Except that return can only be cast a limited number of times, and there is a random element to how many copies you get; so you may not be able to use it in all cases.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • All adult Sload, "slugmen" native to the archipelago of Thras to the southwest of Tamriel, have knowledge of the Recall spell, which they instinctively use to flee danger when greatly stressed.
    • The Divine Intervention and Almsivi Intervention Morrowind which teleport the player to the closest Nine Divines shrine (though in practice "nearest Imperial Fort", as they house the only ones recognized by the spell) or Almsivi temple (respectively). The most common use? Hauling more loot than you can carry by foot back to town.
  • The Etrian Odyssey games have these, called "Warp Wire" in the first two games and "Ariadne Thread" since. Considering how deep the dungeons are and how unforgiving they can be, keeping one on hand is a must. There is also a skill which can do the same, but it's not guaranteed to work; it's useful to save money, but you'll want to carry another wire/string in case the caster faints or runs out of TP. Later games in the series introduce cheaper, lesser variants of this trope: Silver Whistles carry you back to the beginning of the current maze so you can board your airship, while Pole Stones take you to the most recently-used stairs, entrance, or geomagnetic pole.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Because most The Legend of Zelda games have a save-anywhere system, if the player saves and quits while inside a dungeon, they will pick up from the dungeon's entrance.
  • In the Mega Man Battle Network and Star Force series, pressing the R shoulder button would give you the option to "jack out" of dungeons or most Network or EM areas in general, with the added bonus of completely restoring Mega Man's HP.
  • Persona:
    • Persona has the "Traesto" spell, which returns you to the entrance of the current dungeon. Persona 4 onward also features the consumable item "Goho-M" which provides the same purpose. They can be bought in stores in the fourth game, and can be made in the fifth game.
    • Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth will actually warn you if you try to enter a dungeon without any Goho-Ms in your inventory. Leaving dungeons in that game is very difficult without them! By doing a sidequest, you can get the Goho-M More, an instant return to the entrance of a dungeon that never runs out. Q and Q2 also have the Goba-K(along with the Goba-K More, which has unlimited uses), which takes you to the entrance of just the floor you're on.
  • Pokémon:
    • The recurring Escape Rope item in the series, commonly stocked in countless shops in most games and featured as an unlimited-use Key Item in Pokémon Sword and Shield, allows the user to instantly warp to a dungeon's entrance when used. Similarly, the field move "Dig" provides this function if used in an underground area. The move "Teleport" can both flee from wild Pokemon battles as well as return the player to the nearest Pokémon Center, though like "Fly", it only works outdoors.
    • Similarly, in the Pokémon Ranger spinoff series, Pokémon with the "Teleport" field move can return the player to the entrance of an area.
    • The Roguelike Pokémon Mystery Dungeon spin-offs substitute Escape Orbs, which provide the same function. The lack of division between field movement and combat meant Escape orbs could be used even while fighting hostile Pokemon (except for Boss Battles).
  • Some World of Mana games allow the player to purchase Escape Ropes from shops, while in Secret of Mana, it was a reusable item called the "Magic Rope".
  • Cognitive Dissonance has the Starman Larice use a warp ability to teleport you right back to your spaceship from wherever you are on the map or in a dungeon.
  • The "Hearthstone" in World of Warcraft allows the user to teleport to a previously designated "home" (usually an inn), but requires a cooldown time of 30 minutes after use. (Or 15, if your guild uses that perk.) Usually, it cannot be used in combat because it has a fairly long cast time that enemies would interrupt... however, paladins also have a spell that protects them from all damage for a few seconds, letting them use hearthstones or items with a teleportation effect in combat. Many classes also receive special abilities which mimic the effect. Shamans have astral recall which is like having a second hearthstone linked to the same place, druids can teleport to Moonglade, and death knights can send themselves directly back to the Ebon Hand HQ (handy since, unlike everyone else, DKs don't have trainers in other cities or towns).
  • In Angband, the Word of Recall spell (which can be obtained from various magical items) allows you to teleport to and from the top of the dungeon. The catch is that it doesn't take effect instantaneously, but on a timer which functions as an innocuous status effect that you can cancel out of by using Word of Recall again.
  • Mr. Gency's Exit in the Disgaea series and Makai Kingdom. In Phantom Brave, there's a job class with an innate "escape from this dungeon by spending X amount of money" spell.
  • The Diablo games feature the spell "Town Portal", which opens up a portal to the main town, but leaves the door open for a return trip to the combat zone.
    • In Diablo (1997), it takes you to a specific spot in Tristram (sensible as it's the only town) and is a fairly low level spell that has the same effect no matter what your stats are, so even non magic-focused character builds could learn it. Scrolls would also drop fairly regularly. The third party expansion Hellfire added the Warp spell, which teleported you towards the nearest stairs. At best, it was a free escape from whatever battle you were in, at least unless the game was killing you the way it usually did or a free ride across half of the map. At worst, you were back where you started and had to walk across half of the map again.
    • In Diablo II, it's no longer available as a learnable skill, since the skill trees are now strictly segregated by class, but the game does include a compact storage system for carrying a large number of spell scrolls for this purpose. It always leads to the town of the current act. If you used one in the final battle, Diablo would cast bone prison on it while you were gone, and you'd teleport into a trap. A common multiplayer strategy was to use the portals of a party member instead of yours, as the portal would only disappear after its creator took it; teammates could use it back and forth as many times as needed. Thus one could make a semi-permanent teleport to an area with just two party members and two scrolls - and since portals are labeled by player, its rather easy to perform.
    • Warcraft III resurrected the scroll of town portal as an item for heroes that allows a hero and his/her retinue of nearby units to teleport to a friendly base.
    • In Diablo III, the Town Portal is back to being a learnable skill, but now with a cast time.
  • The "Retreat" Psynergy from the Golden Sun series, while technically a spell instead of an item, has this function -When cast inside a dungeon, it will return you to the dungeon's entrance. It is known by Isaac, Felix and Matthew, the three player characters.
  • Phantasy Star:
    • Phantasy Star I has the "Exit" spell to return to the entrance of a dungeon, and the "Fly" spell to return to the last church visited. The latter can make the game Unwinnable if the last church visited was in a town that becomes inaccessible for a period after certain plot events. The second and fourth games have the "Hinas" and "Ryuka" spells which have similar effects, although in the fourth game the latter is more a Warp Whistle. Items that copy these spells, such as the escapipe, are available as well. The third game had an odd case in the "Grantz" spell which does this but cannot be used normally; it is only used in a Cut Scene at the end of the game.
    • Phantasy Star Online simplifies matters from the original RPG series by reducing the Escape Rope options to two: via items with Telepipes, or via spells with Ryuker. Both create a portal that leads back to the hub area where players can restock and recover, then return through the portal to where it was placed. When a player travels back to the dungeon through a portal they created, it disappears; but not when using another player's portal, allowing two players to set up portals near each other and use the other's portal to return to a dungeon while keeping both portals active, if need be.
  • The "Escape Hex" in Resonance of Fate returns you to the world map from anywhere in a dungeon except an Inescapable Ambush battle (mostly bosses). It quickly becomes the standard way of exiting dungeons after finishing them, because you can't save in a dungeon and it would really suck to beat the boss only to die from the Respawning Enemies on your way out.
  • Mother:
    • In Earthbound Beginnings, the Bread Crumbs function as this where you lay down the crumbs where you want to come back to, wander around, then use them to come back where you placed them.
    • EarthBound (1994) has the Exit Mouse, which instantly returns you out of an inside level. It's a good idea to have one on hand if you've lost your way in a dungeon where the enemies are overwhelming you.
  • Digimon World and Digimon World 2 have the Auto-Pilot to take the player back to their base. In the former, it's a one-use item you should keep a stock of in your inventory; in the latter, it's an option in your dungeon vehicle, but it can be jammed by traps, so you might still need a stock of repairs on hand.
  • Metal Walker has several of these, including Crane and Get Blown, all of which return you to the last camp you entered.
  • The Dragon Slayer series:
    • In Legacy of the Wizard, using a Crystal item will instantly warp you back to the surface.
    • The original Dragon Slayer had a RETURN spell that transported the player back to the home.
  • The "Escape Twine" from Slime Forest Adventure.
  • In Demon's Souls, Shards of Archstone and the Evacuate miracle allow you to instantly warp back to the Nexus. If you're out of those, you can also touch your Nexial Binding to give up all your souls in exchange for a warp to the Nexus, but that's mostly the same as dying (in fact it's slightly worse since dying would have left your souls behind to potentially retrieve on the next attempt)—it mostly exists as a failsafe in case you're somehow stuck.
  • All of these options return in Dark Souls, but renamed to Homeward Bones (with some lore about how, if used by a living person, these would literally take them back home, but undead have no home as such), the Homeward miracle, and the Darksign respectively. Since Dark Souls has no equivalent of the Nexus, they instead warp you to the last bonfire you sat at. The sequels, which do have equivalent locations (Majula and the new Firelink Shrine), ask you whether to warp there or back to the bonfire. They also added late-game items (the Aged Feather and the Coiled Sword Fragment, respectively) that function as infinite-use Homeward Bones.
  • And Bloodborne has its own version of the Homeward Bone, the Bold Hunter's Mark.
  • In the Metroidvania Kirby & the Amazing Mirror, Kirby can call a Warp Star on his cell phone to return to the hub at any time by pressing L.
  • Super Paper Mario has the Return Pipe, which lets you return to Flipside at any time, with a few exceptions.
  • Shining in the Darkness has the Egress spell, which can be used during battle (unless Pyra's running low on MP), and the Angel Wings, which can't.
  • Deadly Towers had orange scrolls to warp you back to the holy flame (the natural destination after defeating a boss) and green scrolls to warp you back to the starting area.
  • Okage: Shadow King has Guidance Jewels which warp you to the entrance of a dungeon.
  • Castlevania:
    • Castlevania: Symphony of the Night: The Library Card warps Alucard back to the Master Librarian's room at any time, even during the final boss fights (which is needed for the game to record you've visited the final boss room and fought it for the bestiary).
    • Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia has an item called Magical Ticket, either found in treasure chests or cheaply bought from the shop, which immediately warps you back to the central village to heal and save, replenish your hearts, turn in sidequests and/or stock up on supplies. You can use them anywhere, anytime, except during boss fights. You will probably use them a lot, given the general difficulty of the game.
  • Doctor Lautrec and the Forgotten Knights has The Aller Simple item that immediately sends Lautrec out of the current dungeon.
  • The Monster Hunter series has the Farcaster, a special kind of smoke bomb that warps you back to the base camp during a long as you aren't knocked out of the cloud it makes before it actually warps you. The troublesome part is that you can only hold 1 Farcaster at a time, despite being able to carry multiple of the ingredients that are used to make them.
  • The Merchant's Pendant in Video Game/Moonlighter functions as precisely this, allowing you a one-way trip out of the Dungeons to the safety of the town. Its upgraded version makes this trip reversible.
  • Neverwinter Nights:
    • The Stone of Recall allows you to teleport back to the Halls of Justice (or a local temple of Tyr) for healing, then teleport right back. It will also automatically teleport you to get resurrected when you die.
    • Hordes of the Underdark has the Relic of the Reaper, which teleports you back to the Reaper's Realm from where you can use one of the five doors you've bound to a specific location.
  • In Atelier Violet: The Alchemist of Gramnad 2, the eponymous alchemist can synthesize a Flying Broomstick, which returns her to the overworld from a dungeon. It really saves on the days backtracking the dungeon.
  • Willow for the Nintendo Entertainment System has the Fleet spell to get out of caves.
  • In Faria, the Flash Ball gets you out of any tower or cave.
  • Terraria offers two escape ropes in the form of a single-use recall potion and a multiple-use magic mirror. Both teleport the player back to their spawning point.
  • In Hollow Knight, the "Dreamgate" can be used as one if you can escape the action long enough to use it. You can set the destination of the gate to anywhere you can stand on the ground, with the exception of boss rooms before the boss is dead. This costs one essence per use.
  • In Holy Umbrella, the first item you acquire other than the titular umbrella is a jewel that can whisk you back to the world map.
  • Yume Nikki has the Medamaude ("Eye Palm") effect, which lets Madotsuki return to the Nexus at any time, allowing her to escape otherwise inescapable areas of the DreamWorld what would normally require her to pinch herself awake.
  • Born Under the Rain: The Enchanted Snake Rope, to return to town.
  • Realm of the Mad God has a button and hotkey that allows a player to immediately escape the overworld or a dungeon back to the Nexus hub level. Quite important, considering the permadeath nature of the game.
  • In the PLATO computers dnd game, a wish from a genie is the only way to leave the dungeon if you aren't on floor 1. The problem is that a genie's lamp is really rare, can't be bought, and if you use the wish, the genie disappears, so you have to be careful when you use it.
  • Early Shin Megami Tensei games have two versions: Traesto transports the party to the dungeon entrance, and Traport sends them to the last save point. The Heroine in Shin Megami Tensei I casts Traport to send the rest of the party to safety right before the nukes hit Tokyo.
  • In Klonoa Heroes: Densetsu no Star Medal, Moo Wings let you leave levels if you have a reason to.