Despite my constant descriptions of elves as “marauding, lying, cheating, Bedouin gypsies,” some of you insist on playing them anyway. Fair enough. More healthy snack options for thri-kreen hordes. But one aspect of roleplaying an elf is almost always sidelined, which is something I wanted to remedy with the book update. Tests of Loyalty among elves has been part of the Dark Sun milieu since back in the 2nd edition days. Updating the HoAF player’s book gave me a chance to include more detail on these finally. This is pretty much straight out of the original DS boxed set.
From Elves (pg 29):
The trust of an elf is not easily earned. An elf’s roleplaying revolves around his self-reliance and relationships with outsiders. Outsiders include anyone not of the elf’s tribe-even other elves. Thus, an elf should not wish to gain friendship and trust with every character he meets; on the contrary, he tests the trustworthiness of outsiders who display some redeeming characteristics (redeeming to an elf, that is). Elves also perform such tests on outsiders who try to befriend them. Elven characters should put outsiders to tests of trust or loyalty whenever possible rather than trust them from the onset just “because they’re other player characters.”
An elf will also recognize displays of trust and loyalty that are not planned in advance. If an outsider fails one or more tests of trust, an elf player character should not consider him a friend and should never retest him. However, if a series of tests are passed, the elf player character can declare the outsider a friend—no further tests will be necessary unless the friend severely breaks that trust.
ELVEN TESTS OF LOYALTY
Subtle Tests of Trust Include:
► entrusting an outsider with a confidential piece of information,
► leaving a valuable item out in the open, in clear view, to see if the outsider takes it,
► arranging a secret rendezvous, then making sure the outsider shows up in the right place and on time,
► asking the outsider to deliver a message or item.
Life-threatening tests of trust include:
► letting oneself get captured by gith to see if the outsider attempts a rescue (this is a favorite among elves of the stony barrens),
► faking unconsciousness after a battle to see what care the outsider provides,
► making certain part of the water supply is lost on a cross-desert journey, then seeing if he gets a fair share of what’s left,
► challenging a particularly deadly enemy to see if the outsider stands with him or flees.