Lab Escape Strategy

There doesn’t seem to be a recent thread for this so I thought it would be cool to start one and share techniques. I think I started out with a more urgent approach, trying to escape as quickly as possible. But the last few lab starts I’ve gone for a more relaxed approach. Here’s my current strategy:

Character build: whatever you prefer, but definitely no points in any skills, not even trapping (for teleporters) or cooking (for explosives). They’re a waste with the relaxed approach. Dex should preferably be maxed (until the point where additional points cost 2), and per fairly high as well. I like str around 12 and int around 10-11, but it’s up to you.

  1. Mark where the entrance to the lab should be, and begin bee-lining toward that location.

  2. On your way, smash a table for a two by four and nails whenever you see it. Smash a display rack for a pipe. Smash a refrigerator for a chunk of steel (i.e. a hammer). Turn the pipe into a makeshift crowbar. This is your primary weapon until you find a better one (you almost certainly will).

  3. During the initial beeline to the entrance and search for clothing and weapons, AVOID ALL COMBAT. This is pretty key and generally most maps allow for it. There are usually a few stairs to connect each level so being pincered in by enemies is rare.

  4. Wear practically everything you find that is useful, warm, has storage, etc. Don’t worry about encumbrance. You can strip before any required combat, if necessary. Mark the locations of any bedrooms, terminals, or teleport traps you encounter.

  5. Once you find the entrance, find the nearest terminal and make that your loot pile. From this point you will make trips down into the lab to bring as much useful stuff back as possible. You can now go to the nearest bedroom for rags, nails, and 2x4s and make a few useful things if you want. I want to stress that you should NOT waste tons of time leveling up tailoring or fabrication at this point. Your limited time is much better spent exploring the lab and finding better items than you could ever hope to craft yourself.

  6. Once you have enough armor/clothing for combat to be safe, you can begin to clear rooms that have enemies. The crowbar should be sufficient to take out most enemies. Skitterbots should probably be avoided. Eventually you will be able to upgrade to the machete (seems to be a common find in the lab) or the combat knife (almost sure to drop from manhacks). If you have extremely bad luck, your best bet is probably to use the crowbar until you get bashing 2 then make the quarterstaff. With the next tier of weapons, every enemy in the lab that isn’t a turret (or locked up in barracks or prisoner containment) should be easy game.

  7. Now, proceed to raid every square inch of the lab that isn’t turret-guarded for any books, useful weapons, useful apparel, clean water, food (it’s rare but there are fridges in the breakrooms that have some), goo canisters, and drugs. Make map notes of any human corpses or gallon jugs of chemicals, and as ever, any teleport traps. All the good stuff you find will leave you better prepared for the game than a non-lab start, to the point where starting in the lab isn’t even really a disadvantage.

  8. Eventually you will get famished. Wait until you are dead-tired, then make cooked creep and gorge until full, then sleep. When you wake up the morale penalty will be gone, and you can continue unimpeded. You can do this two or three times before the corpses go to rot, so that should be more than enough time to explore the lab, including a few extra days of time reading books or training skills for whatever escape method.

  9. After you finish raiding the lab entirely (every floor, all rooms excluding turrets and locked rooms), you can begin the endgame for escape. Basically you have the following options: a) You found an acetylene torch, dynamite, teleport bad, jackhammer, or electrohack. This is auto-win, proceed. b) You found a book with the electrohack recipe. Train electronics and computers appropriately, then proceed. c) You found the ingredients to dynamite (they’re rare). Train the appropriate skills, then proceed. d) You found some auto-win CBM. Max your electronics and first aid, eat drugs, and proceed. d) You found none of those things. See 10.

  10. I tend to regard the teleport trap as a lame way to escape the lab, but at this point there is no other way out. It is possible to remove the luck from the equation though. Make sure that you find a teleport trap that isn’t located near any locked away areas (teleporting there will result in instantly losing). This includes, hilariously, the flooded chamber with the fire ax. Yea, I died there once. Next, make sure you build nailboard traps to get trapping to level 1. Optionally, you can attempt to disarm every slime trap you find. There should be tons and tons of them. Depending what books you found, you might be able to make other traps to get to 2 or 3. If you found any hard drugs, especially the adrenaline shot, eating those with your already high dex and perception and a trapping skill of at least 1 should make it very easy to disarm the trap in just a couple of tries.

  11. The turret. You can use goo canisters to distract it and waste its ammo, or you can layer a ton of armor to tank its ammo. It’s not difficult to handle it.

  12. Wear every storage item you’ve found, load yourself up with everything worth taking, and teleport out of there. Then leave a huge cache of useful items outside the lab walls and proceed with the normal game.


  • You can try to raid the locked up lab areas if you are feeling adventurous. There should be plenty of books and ways of training computers up. In particular it might be worth trying your hand at the bionic access, as the penalty for failure isn’t that large, you just bolt and close the door behind you.

  • It’s probably worthwhile to take on one turret at the end just to reveal the map.

^Nice. Very thorough.

  • I would like to add a reminder about the nearby starting NPC, if one has static NPCs enabled. Sometimes that NPC may have some very useful stuff for trade… and some of the stuff in labs is very valuable. A teleporter or a disarmed teleport trap (can’t remember which) is worth 10k… Of course a more ruthless player might just try to kill the NPC for his/her stuff. And also the NPC might be able to kill anything you lure to him/her in the labs.

  • It’s possible to deal with manhacks by throwing (heavy) stuff at them, depending on the character’s abilities of course. Manhacks themselves might be difficult to hit in melee.

  • Finding an EMP grenade, or being able to craft one, is a distant possibility. They are very destructive against turrets. It’s best to throw them from a blind spot and try to land them as close to the turret as possible. With further luck the turret shuts down and remains intact and you can disassemble it for the 9mm SMG plus the ammo.

A great guide - as a seasoned lab escapee, I agree with almost everything you wrote.

I always for get to mention the electrohack when I talk about this stuff. SO many ways to escape, I’ve never had to use that one. I will point out that I’ve never found gasoline to power the jackhammer/jacqueshammer, and I’ve never found an electric jackhammer. I’ve MADE an electric jackhammer, that’s a common and fairly easy one… provided you get the right book (not that rare) and an Integrated Toolset CBM.

Another auto-win they’ve added in the last couple of months is the ability to find Science IDs in the lab - fairly rare, but I’ve found them in crates and in the locker of the observation room.

Other escape methods are direct access to a sewer (rare) or ant hill (theoretically - never seen one myself). Also, in theory, I think you could build a vehicle to ram your way out, but I don’t know if a foot crank can get you enough speed to damage the wall or door, and I don’t know of a lead source to build a vehicle battery, so I don’t know if this one would work (everything else you can make from lab materials easily).

I SPAWNED in the flooded chamber once, a good while back. Thankfully, they seem to have fixed that (along with spawning in line of sight with a turret - they despawn the turret now, resulting in a free console to get the map).

Bionics can actually be gotten quicker than training the computer skill, if you have the strength - make a homewrecker and smash the glass.

Meh, I usually just explore the area around until I find a Science ID, then get back in using that and get the map - it despawns the turrets (that are near enough - in very large labs, some of the outlying rooms will still have turrets!).

But really, a very good guide - thanks, and I’ll be pointing newbies here from the newbie questions thread.

Also, with regards to trading items in general, if you trade away items for their money, they will be 100% willing to join you if you trade items for all of their money. With that in mind, you gain a meatshield, and if they have skills to teach, they will always be willing to teach you those skills which can be very useful depending on the skills they have.

You know, I was thinking about this… and I think you can unload refillable lighters to get gasoline. That’s kinda silly, but I think it would be enough for a shot or 2 with the jackhammer.

I’m pretty sure I saw a electric motor in one of the crates in the warehouse section of the lab a while back. Now all it needs is a battery and an alternator (I believe it does, but I may be wrong.) frames that could be used are extra light weight frames using pipes - obtained by disassembling display racks or frames by smashing them and getting chunks of steel. Could even use wooden frames from counters. Not sure about the controls however. You could make wooden cart wheels for mobility.

Also I defend dynamite not being a waste. By picking willing mutant you can either go EMP or dynamite, both books and materials are very easily found in the lab. Plus, when you get out of the lab your dynamite still has plenty of other uses like blowing more shit up.

Maybe its because I play with the item spawn turned down (usually to 50% or 2/3), but I can never seem to find the ingredients to dynamite. I enjoy the challenge of trying to escape by less cheesy means than teleporter, but usually with my item spawn settings I ransack the whole lab and have teleporter as the only way out.

Yes, electric motors spawn occasionally, but you can MAKE small electric motors (or get them from desk fans), so that’s not the problem.

You don’t need an alternator - electric motors USE electric power, so putting an alternator on them is silly and pointless (I don’t think it even lets you, actually).

The problem is that you need LEAD for the battery plates to make vehicle batteries of every makeable kind, and I don’t know of a source of lead inside labs. If you could make one, you could fill it with normal batteries (or at least enough to use the vehicle as a ram).

Now, you could make foot pedals… anyone know if a survivor can pedal a vehicle fast enough to smash a concrete wall or a steel door? I’ve never tried…

You could use an alternator and foot pedals to charge a battery :confused:

The blob canisters found in fridge rooms are a great way of depleting the ammo of the entrance turret.

Except you can’t make an alternator (not really a problem) OR A BATTERY (the whole problem we were discussing).

So far as I know, there’s no source of lead in labs, so you can’t make lead plates, so you can’t make batteries. Unless I’m missing a source of lead somewhere? There’s nothing else in the item browser…

Edit: of course, there is disassembling bullets, yes, I tend to forget about that… but actually accomplishing that in a lab seems exceedingly difficult… BUT not impossible, so on the list it goes.

Make an electric vehicle, ram your way out, now officially possible!

Lead can be crafted from scrap metal, but it requires a forge, hand press and die, and crucible…

With enough luck and the right skills, this can be possible. WE CAN MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

I’m going to run through this real quick as I typed everything out and my browser crashed.

Quick guide on making and finding materials needed to make dynamite

Tools/skills you need: 7 cooking, advanced physical chemistry and a chemistry set.

Advanced physical chemistry can be found lying around on counter tops, much like lab journals. Chemistry sets are also found in your generic lab room.
For cooking, it’s best to become a willing mutant and put 2 points into cooking, less points used overall and better everything, really.

Ingredients - paper, ammonia, soap bars, concentrated acid.

  1. Paper is easily found by taking books and ripping them to shreds by disassembling them.
    Bonus comedy points if you’re using playboys.

  2. Acid can be made by taking 2 large liquid containers, like a gallon jug or 3L glass jar (Both of which are easily found.) You first need to use your chemistry set and turn basic water (pools of infinite water can be generated, if not use toilet water.) into weak acid and pour it into a container. Then, take that acid and process it again and make it into concentrated acid.

3)Ammonia is found lying on counter tops and janitor closets.

  1. Arguably the hardest to find, soap bars can be found in janitor closets. They’re located top left of a warehouse in the lab.

*Added notes about soap bars, is that they have 10 units, you need 3 to make a bundle of dynamite. So with a single ‘set’ of soap bars and it’s 10 units, you can craft 3 bundles of dynamite - more than enough to blow through a couple doors and take care of a pesky turret.
**Janitor closets also contain goodies like vinegar, ammonia, sewing kits, thread, mops, etc. If you find soap bars and ammonia at the same time, you effectively just killed two birds with one stone.