Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PvP Actions

In the L5R Game I just got out of playing, I had a particularly fun session. Why? Well, I'm playing the Scorpion in the group, and despite it only being session 2 I've already begun my Scorpion shenaniganry. This has me thinking about PvP, and so I wanted to talk about it briefly with folks, and collect people's thoughts on the subject.

Pick Your Targets
The first thing that is important to know about PvP actions is to pick your targets. I mean this seriously too. If a player isn't cool with PvP than you shouldn't pick on them with it. Especially not the kind that will make things harder for them. Arguments can ruin sessions and even entire games, so try to only PvP with folks who are cool with it. For GMs, if you definitely want, or don't want, pvp in your game, then tell your players. It isn't fair to a player to come in expecting one type of game, only to find that the game is actually using a different kind. As always, communication is key.

Keep It Entertaining
I disagree with the concept of PvP for PvP's sake. That may work for you, and that's fine, but for me I prefer more narrative focused game. Chances to lose are fine, but the game should tell a story. As such, the best kind of PvP in my mind is the kind that is fueled by drama. For example, in today's game I pulled off a stunt right in front of another PC, because I had no other chance. Had I failed, it likely would have led to a fight to the death with the other PC. A fight that I am fairly sure my character would lose. However, it would have added to the story when it happened, which made it awesome. Crisis was averted, but even with that we learned about my character. For one, he's not above trying that stuff while being watched.

PvP Doesn't Mean Kill Each Other
The last thing I want to mention is that PvP does not necessarily mean you kill each other. It just means that the antagonist - however briefly - in another PC's life is a PC themselves. This could be for a trade deal, an argument, a drinking contest, or even kidnapping another PC's loved one to see how they react. This, combined with the above, can be used to create all sorts of interesting scenarios and to really add tension and drama to a scene. Use it carefully, and use it well, but if your group is fine with it - by all means use it.

 How About You?
I'm curious what your thoughts of PvP are. Do you like it? Dislike it? Why? Have any cool horror stories to share? How about stories about awesome PvP encounters? Sound off in the comments.


  1. I allow PvP but don't encourage it.

    Probably the best PvP I've seen was when a new player decided he was going to take on the group's tank as a challenge. The tank (a girl) said she would fight him if it was just hand to hand. The newb agreed and dropped his gear and got ready to fight.

    The tank who also has a very high intimidation and command skills ordered the newb "GET DOWN ON THE GROUND AND PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK!" She aced her skill roll and the newb failed his Psyche (willpower) badly and so he complied and the tank handcuffed him. The best part is that the newb roleplayed this part and offered that his character peed his pants. This got everybody laughing at the situation that was slightly tense before that. After asking if he would behave now, the tank let him out of the handcuffs and everything went swimmingly after that.

  2. I'm actually rather fond of PvP ingame, but only at appropriate situations.
    I've used it twice in my current campaign, once at the start of the campaign and once just before they found something very important. There is a possibility for a third PvP option but that hasn't occured yet. (One player desperately wanted to play a vampire, I decided she'd have a chance to start attacking one of her party members if she got too low on HP. Now she always gets healed first...)

    At the start of the campaign I gave each player a task before the game started. They didn't know which tasks the other party members had. Ofcourse, the tasks conflicted with eachother and they spent half the session trying to complete their own task until one of the players decided to ask what the others were supposed to do. When it turned out the different tasks overlapped ánd gave extra information about some NPC's (one was a treacherous fool) they decided to start working together and so the party was formed. :)

    Second time was due to a magic aura which drew them to a certain place. Two players failed their willsaves and the two who didn't desperately tried to stop them from running headfirst into a possibly very dangerous situation.

    Surprisingly enough, if I ask my players which session was the most memorable, they mention either the first or the second. If your players are familiar with the concept and not out to annoy the other players, it can become an epic experience. :)

  3. Definitely. PvP with a mature group can be an absolutely amazing experience. For much the same reason that online play is so popular for video games, PvP adds that human element to the conflict that can really escalate things.

    Good tales on both parts. Keep them coming, folks!