Friday, March 25, 2011

Discussion: Inner Party Conflict

Inner Party Conflict happens from time to time. Sometimes it is a specific player just wanting to be silly or an ass (I'm looking at you fellow thief types.) Sometimes it comes about naturally due to the role play of the session, and how the campaign has shaped up until then. One time, in an old AD&D game I ran a long time ago, a party member didn't realize that his character was in love with the NPC assassin until the party went to try and kill her. At which part he literally became the Assassin's knight in shining armor, and a big inner party brawl started (the mage couldn't see how what they were doing was right, when the Lawful Good fighter was getting in the way of it). It was also ended the game.

Now, generally, I maintain a policy that inner party conflict is to be kept to a bare minimum in my game. If the person has a damn good In Character reason for doing something, I will let it slide. However, I am careful to make sure that people aren't metagaming their reasons, or forcing chains of logic to allow them to have PvP in revenge and other such things. I also know that this isn't the only way to handle it.

So, the question for today is: How do you handle PVP and Inner Party Conflict in your games? Do you just let it go? Do you discourage it? Encourage it? Do people get XP for killing other party members as if it was just another hard fight? Sound off in the comments below.


  1. I've only had a few instances of this in my games- and most of them were of the simple In-Character-rivalry or 'prank' nature. A couple would fall into the 'someone just being an ass/having fun'- which I don't mind from time to time. Overall, though, I'm not a huge fan of Inner Party rivalry- especially of a serious (in character) nature. Even if both sides of a conflict are great at playing their characters and the conflict is an awesome story point- if it is a conflict that can't be resolved then it is going to likely cause one or the other side to have to drop out of the campaign. Since I don't care for running 'split' campaigns (at least not for any length of time), this means that either the campaign ends or someone is making up a new character. I am lucky that (so far) none of the IC arguments in my games have ever been a carry over from real-world animosities. I did, on one occasion, have a slight scuffle break out between two players for real-life reasons, but oddly enough (and to their credit), the characters of the players in question never took it out on each other in the game. So in short (too late), I discourage PVP conflict of a serious nature- usually by just talking 'real life' and saying "c'mon guys, enough already".

  2. I've really only seen PvP come from new players trying to establish themselves at the top of a pecking order. The funny thing is that they're almost always outmatched.

    The most recent one was pretty funny, a brand new player character wanted to get in a fight with a veteran player character because the veteran character is 7ft tall and huge and he must have thought he would get recognition for it.

    The veteran player agreed to fight but said they had to have a fistfight instead of using weapons (which was giving the new player a prayer of a chance). As soon as the beginner PC put down his weapons, the veteran used her charisma (which was considerable) to intimidate the beginner so much that he basically peed his pants (that was the description the new player gave after seeing the rolls). It was hilarious and then the game continued as normal.

    Go figure.