I told you guys back in “Guild Charter” about those poor hill giants who had befriended my megadungeon PCs. Our heroes forgot to spread the word around the local taverns about this truce, and so they returned to Giant Town a few days later only to find their new pals cut down by a rival band of adventurers. It was a large scale version of the smaller interactions that happen all the time within adventuring parties. You see, not every character shares the same sets of friends and enemies. Despite the message in today’s Handbook excerpt, I think this can be a good thing.

Traitorous and untrustworthy NPCs crop up all the time in adventures. Different Sense Motive / Insight / Whatever checks can yield different prejudices in individual PCs: “She seems nice” vs. “She seems nice, but there’s something off about her” can result in major disagreements. Just imagine your buddy the bard introducing you to her new pal the lycanthrope.

“Don’t worry! She told me that she doesn’t bite.”

Do you trust this unconventional quest-giver or don’t you? The bard certainly seems to think this wererat rogue is on the up and up, but you’d be a fool to let your guard down. These are exactly the sort of intraparty disagreement I can get behind. They result in the kinds of conflicts that create interesting tension, no matter what side of the betrayed/not betrayed line the case happens to fall on.

The alternative of course is the groupthink style of play, and I’ve got to be honest: I’m not a fan. To continue the wererat example, imagine that you’re fresh on the heels of a solo encounter between the bard and the lycanthrope. There was some tense dialogue, earnest backstory from the rat, and a show of trust between the two. If the rest of the group meets this shady NPC and decides without question to trust her implicitly, then you’re taking all of the dramatic tension out of the moment. After all, you might have been there to witness Gnawtooth’s tale of oppression at the hands of the cruel bounty hunter guild, but your character wasn’t. Don’t let another PC choose your reaction for you. It’s metagaming 101, but it bears repeating. Just because you believe that an NPC is a trustworthy ally, that doesn’t necessarily mean your character does. My advice is simple: try to remember to think from your character’s perspective. We take time and effort to make sure our characters are unique individuals. It’s worth putting in the effort to make them unique in fact.

Question of the day then. Have you ever found yourself disagreeing with another PC about friends and enemies? Let’s hear your tales of uncertain alliances and suspicious NPCs in the comments!


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