It was high time the dark elf ladies of Handbook-World met one another. I’m sure they’ll get on famously.

More concerning than the imminent violence, however, is Drow Priestess’s utter lack of discretion. I mean, she’s supposed to be a proper drow, isn’t she? I was under the impression they were all trained from birth to despise weakness and trust no one. Those must be some serious murder charges if she’s ready to throw herself on the tender mercies of the first dark elf she happens across. And yet, silly as it is, this is exactly the sort of behavior you’ll see from players time and time again.

I told you about one of these instances way back in “Venial Sins.” My well-meaning players marched right up to that town councilman, laid out their proposed engineering project, and were totally blindsided by his ensuing bastardry. Same deal with judging a dragon’s personality by its RGB values. Or smiting the royal vizier based on facial hair. Or getting taken in by a very-obviously evil monster’s sob story.

I still remember one of my very first gaming experiences. It was a DragonStrike scenario, and my seven-year-old self was going ham with the warrior. The dice were hot, the monsters were exploding left and right, and I was feeling invincible. That’s when the Dragon Master™ plopped a single puny orc down onto the table.

“What’s that?” I asked.

“A magic orc.”

And because I was a manic elementary school kid hopped up on bloodlust and good luck, I immediately shouted, “I attack it!”

Of course, as any seasoned adventurers knows, you’re supposed to ask, “What do you mean ‘magic’ orc?” before wading into combat. Had I asked that question, I would have learned that the orc was actually a cursed prince. I might also have learned that killing him would automatically summon the big red dragon that acts as the end boss of every Dragon Strike adventure.

The lesson in all of this is clear: Do your research. Roll a few Insight checks. Ask the serving staff a couple of questions before making friends with Lady Duplicity. And if you still smell a rat despite the results of your Sense Motive roll, feel free to show a little prudence. You aren’t a dirty meta gamer just because you want to display some caution. In the case of Drow Priestess, that might look like a self-serving lie: “That mob will kill any drow they happen across. We must help one another to survive this night!” What I’m saying is to behave like a proper dark elf. Make no assumptions, trust no one, and at the very least, try not to kill any magic orcs.

So how about it, gamers? Have you ever given your unthinking trust to an NPC only to have it thrown back in your face? Or conversely, have you ever charged into a fight with an “evil” creature, only to discover that it was actually a good guy? Tell us your tale of mistaken assumptions and tragic misapprehensions down in the comments!


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