What's the maximum score?

How much gold can you get? The answer is certainly not more than "all the gold there is", and in Dungeonquest all gold is physically represented by cards or chits. There's no way to create a gold-producing loop or anything like that.

How much gold is there? Well, there are 40 chits in the Dragon loot, of which one is the Book, which is neat, but not worth any gold. Three crypts have gold, as do three dead adventurers. Four of the Search cards have treasure, so do two of the Catacombs cards. A single Room card has treasure. The full list of treasure is shown in the Appendix. The total value, assuming that the two chests worth D12×100 GP are worth 1200 GP, is 46,690 GP.

The obvious starting point is that you draw all corridors on your first turn, leading you straight to the Treasure Chamber. You loot the Dragon's hoard for seven turns (there are eight Dragon chits with one being an awake Dragon), getting the highest value loot, leave, return, etc. until time is up. However, this is not optimal.

Azoth the Faceless

Azoth can get all the gold through use of the Stasis spell, which gives him an additional 13 turns (leaving him at 1 LP): 39 in all. It's a little close, but no sneaky tricks are needed to work it out. Here's one possible game:

Needless to say, this progression of events is fantastically unlikely. Because many variants are possible, it's not straightforward to calculate the probability of getting all the loot, but let's do a quick estimate. Just take the probability of each unlikely thing to be 1 in 10. That's super approximate, but also there are lots of combinatorics we're not going to handle either, so who cares?

We need to draw 9 corridors in a row — 9 unlikely things, and they have to lead to the Treasure Chamber, so add another unlikely thing. Then we need to do a seven-turn looting of the Dragon. Oddly, this is one of the easier parts, since the probability of the awake Dragon chit being last is 1 in 8. So all seven of those turns are rolled into a single unlikely thing. Since we're going to get all the treasure, there's no need to worry about the order in which it is drawn. The next two Dragon looting sessions brings us up to 13 unlikely things.

Then we need to get three favorable tiles and draw perfectly from the Crypt (3), Corpse (3), Search (4), Catacombs (3, including the Exit) and Room decks (3 Crypts, 3 Corpses and a Treasure). But you must also roll 12s both times on D12 for the chests. So that's 38 unlikely things. Since you can waste two turns anywhere in here, discount by two unlikely things. Actually, the progression I give above is inefficient (as you may have noticed). There's no reason for turns 8 and 16 to be treasureless when you could be backing into a regular room and using them to get a Crypt or Corpse treasure.

Oh, and you can spend a few more turns in Stasis by using Dark Force to regain LP. As long as you don't move that turn, it is perfectly safe, so you can effectively have an extra two turns from that. So with six treasureless turns to scatter about, we can discount by a few unlikely things. Of course, you can't take any damage on these turns if you end up maxing out the number of total turns. Damage is unlikely (impossible?) while in Stasis, since you ignore monsters and traps, but not so much on the majority of the turns. Eventually the probability of damage more than counteracts the combinatorics. Back of the envelope, I'm calling it a discount of 7 unlikely things.

In sum, this makes 10−31 my incredibly rough estimate of the probability of a perfect score. That is, if one plays as though only a perfect score is worthwhile. Any normal play style gives a probability of zero.

Generic characters

The rest of the characters only have the usual 26 turns. Except for those detailed below, their abilities are irrelevant to this challenge.

One wrinkle is the Ring of Teleportation, which states that "You may use it whenever you wish" [emphasis mine]. I interpret this to mean that you can draw a treasure card in the Catacombs and then teleport up on the same turn, thereby avoiding the usual treasureless turn used to draw an Exit, as Azoth does above. (He can't use the ring, but he also doesn't need to save that turn!)

Given this, it is possible to get treasure every turn. There are 33 turns worth of treasure to get and you have 26 turns. The 26 highest value treasures (counting Dragon treasures in pairs) gives 46,320 GP. More explicitly, we need to loot the dragon 19 times (the final two treasure chits that we don't take are the 100 GP coins and the Book), get 2 Crypts, 1 Corpse, Search twice, and get both Catacombs treasures. It is straightforward to construct a sequence of moves that gets these, using a similar pattern to that shown above.

Ironhand the Mighty

Ironhand has a handicap in that he can't use the Ring of Teleportation. So he only has 25 turns of looting available if he uses the Catacombs. Assuming the Catacombs route, the list of loot is the same as above except that he skips one Crypt. Again, it is straightforward to construct such a sequence, which nets 46,200 GP. Without the Catacombs, his best total is 44,960 GP, so Catacombs it is.

Rildo the Crafty

Rildo can double-search, giving him effectively two additional turns of looting. His ideal list is the same as for the generic character, except that he gets all four Search treasures for a total of 46,420 GP.

(Helena the Swift)

Helena's running ability looks useful, but you can't do better than getting treasure every turn, so it turns out her top score is the same as a generic character.

Appendix: List of treasure

Dragon loot