Update: The tale of the troublesome tighty-whities is over, thanks to the big 1.04 patch that rolled out earlier this week. Among a great many other things, the update "fixed a bug that allowed unauthorized items to be passed to other players," which a Bandai Namco Entertainment rep confirmed in an email includes the Deathbed Smalls. It's "unauthorized" (you have to use a cheat to get the item into the game), and so while you can apparently still bring the Smalls into your own game if you want, you can no longer inflict it on others.
Bandai Namco didn't say whether it will reverse bans imposed on victims of the perilous panties, but I've asked and will update again if I receive a reply.
The original story follows below.
Quick heads-up: If someone pops into your Elden Ring game, drops a pair of skimpy skivvies on the ground, and then dips, do not—repeat, do not—pick them up. Multiple people are reporting in the Elden Ring subreddit that they have been banned from regular online play after claiming the discarded tighty-whities as their own.
The temptation to try the piece on is understandable. The underwear (technically, leg armor) is called Deathbed Smalls, an absolutely immediately intriguing name that I think would make a great gamer handle. It's also a very basic, tiny piece of kit, the sort of thing worn by legitimate Elden Ring badasses who want the world to know that armor is for cowards. (Let Me Solo Her, the first legendary Elden Ring player, is a perfect example of this.)
The trouble is that the Deathbed Smalls aren't supposed to be in Elden Ring at all. As Polygon reported last month, they're part of an armor set that was cut from the game before release. But they can be brought back through the magic of Cheat Engine: Download it, go offline, give yourself item 1930300, and you're off.
Because the item isn't supposed to be in the game, it appears to be triggering an anti-cheat response that's leaving players "quarantined," meaning they can only play with other quarantined players. That's not necessarily a big deal, unless you want to summon another player—one redditor who reported the issue, JeSuisLePamplemous, said the much smaller number of players in the quarantined queue means there are no summon signs available.
Courtesy of redditor BugzBunnnie, this is the anti-panty message received:
Some of the people reporting the problem are uncertain about what's happening, because they haven't intentionally cheated and aren't actually locked out of the game. There's also uncertainty over whether simply throwing away the panties is enough to revert the softban: Some redditors say it is, but JeSuisLePamplemous said dropping them did not change their ban status.
The good news is that you're not totally out of luck if you get the boot over the briefs: JeSuisLePamplemous contacted Bandai Namco support about the ban and was told it would be lifted. The bad news is that if it happens again, the ban could be permanent—and the only way to avoid a perma-ban is to delete the save file completely.
That's not a great option for anyone with big chunks of time already sunk in the game, so my advice is to play it safe: If you see a strange pair of underwear lying on the ground and it's not yours, best just leave it alone.