Wait a minute. You mean that when you introduce continuity to a comic you’ve got to pay off your storylines? What a hassle! I don’t know how Rich Burlew puts up with it.

For serious though, given the amount of “what does Thief think about all this?” comments we’ve received since Wizard’s transformation, I’m pretty sure we’d have been lynched if we didn’t hurry up and release this comic. I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but even if this brief dalliance with an ongoing storyline has been fun, I look forward to a return to the usual joke-a-day style. There’s something to be said for a comfortable status quo, you know? I mean sure, Fem!Wizard is here to stay, but that doesn’t mean that anything else is changing.

For me, Thief’s equanimity in the face of Wizard’s sudden character growth is reassuring, but it’s also instructive. I think that has something to do with the constancy of the Thief/Wizard romance.

For certain characters, there are attributes that are core to their identity. Thief loves Wizard. Inigo Montoya pursues revenge. Gromit is loyal to Wallace. Gollum is addicted to the precious. These are defining traits, and changing them is almost unthinkable, even in the face of overwhelming opposition. I first came to understand this truth that one time Laurel grabbed hold of an Exalted campaign and dragged it off the rails.

Here’s the situation. I was serving as ST for that campaign, and the usual crew of heroic exalts had just escaped a Deathlord auction down in Stygia. Proper nouns aside, the important plot point is that Laurel’s love interest had been sold into the service of the campaign’s BBEG. Somehow evading capture after a botched rescue attempt, the group was on the run down in the underworld. Everyone in the party wanted to head back to base and regroup, and I’d even handed them an underworld map so that they could find their way back to the land of the living. Laurel’s adorable spectacled owl lunar had other ideas.

Specs: “Can I hold the map?”

Suspicious Crocodile Lunar: “Why? You’ve never shown an interest in navigating before.”

Specs, Lip Trembling: “It’s just… That map is the last thing my love interest gave me. It’s all I have to remember him by.”

Increasingly Suspicious Crocodile Lunar: “It’s also our only way out of here.” 

Specs, Weeping: “I just… I miss him so much. Waaaaaah!” 

Suffice it to say that she got the map. The campaign took a hard left from there, and the group tromped off through literal hell so that an extremely determined owl girl could go win back her lover. In my mind, there’s a little bit of Specs in Thief. It doesn’t matter that Wizard is doing her best impersonation of a bodice-ripper book cover. Thief is not giving up on her romantic subplot, no matter what.

What about the rest of you guys though? Do you have any characters with strong core values? Have they ever been put to the test? Let’s hear all about your trials and tribulations down in the comments!


EARN BONUS LOOT! Check out the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. We’ve got a sketch feed full of Laurel’s original concept art. We’ve got early access to comics. There’s physical schwag, personalized art, and a monthly vote to see which class gets featured in the comic next. And perhaps my personal favorite, we’ve been hard at work bringing a bimonthly NSFW Handbook of Erotic Fantasy comic to the world! So come one come all. Hurry while supplies of hot elf chicks lasts!