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molten_dragon
2012-05-16, 06:12 PM
Warning! Wall of text incoming!

I'm currently playing in an exalted campaign with 5 other players. It had been going very well up until last night. Last night though, there was a serious intra-party conflict that I fear is going to affect the campaign negatively from here on out. It was mainly between me and one other player, who I'll call Bob. The conflict took place mainly in-game.

The story so far in the campaign is that we are all dragonbloods serving in the military of a powerful solar. We all have various reasons for joining her army. My character's hometown was invaded by a different solar, so he made a deal with this one that he would serve in her army and within a year and a day she would give him aid in freeing his hometown. Bob's character is driven by her destiny, which led her to join the Solar's military. In the past Bob's character has shown minor signs that she will disobey orders if she believes they are contrary to her destiny. As it is a military campaign, we all have ranks in the Solar's army and our team has a commanding officer. We are expected to follow a set of rules set down by the Solar we serve under. They are:

Follow the orders of your commanding officer
Weigh your soldiers lives equal to your own
Do not kill that which is not your foe or your dinner
Do not lightly take the life of an honorable opponent
Do not steal from your allies or those who may become your allies
Conduct yourself in a manner befitting your station

Until recently one of the other players was the only person in the party with the rank of Captain (the rest of us were lieutenants) and was our commanding officer. At the end of the last story arc, I was promoted to Captain and put in command of the group for our next mission, since we were being sent to free my hometown and hopefully bring them into the Solar's budding empire. When the Solar sent us on the mission, she told us that for the purposes of plausible deniability we were not officially on a mission from her, and the rules were a bit looser, but she still expected us to follow our commanding officer and abide by her rules. She also told us (I'm paraphrasing somewhat here) that her empire needed time to rebuild after a nasty war, and under no circumstances were we to start another war.

To get to my character's hometown, we had to travel through territory controlled by two other empires. One was neutral, and we made it through there just fine. The other was controlled by an empire that was much larger than our leader's and was semi-hostile towards us, though things hadn't devolved to the point of armed conflict yet. The part of their territory that we had to pass through was very close to Bob's character's hometown, and he wanted to visit his parents, and the monastery where he trained when we passed by.

A few sessions before this, we had learned that Bob's character was a wanted criminal in his hometown, accused of murdering "scores of people" and fleeing justice. He insisted that he did no such thing and the whole town was brainwashed. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, the whole town believed him guilty, so he couldn't just waltz into town. My character agreed to have the stealthiest member of our party sneak in, contact his parents, and bring them a few miles outside town to meet with us so his character could see them.

He got to talk to them for a couple minutes, and was in the midst of trying to find out more information about the crime he had supposedly committed when we heard hoofbeats. Realizing we had somehow been found out, we jumped on our horses to leave before we caused a major scene. Shortly after we started running, we heard a magical voice command Bob's character to stop and face justice. I ordered him to ignore it, but he said it was one of the monks from his monastery and it was his destiny to face her, and turned his horse around and started heading towards the people chasing us.

Realizing at this point that there was nothing I could do to stop the conflict, I figured the best thing I could do was to keep him from getting killed and try to do damage control once the dust settled, so I ordered the rest of the party to follow him.

The enemy turned out to be one of the monks from his monastery with 4 soldiers. When Bob's character saw the monk, they charged each other. They hit hard enough that both were badly wounded and knocked from their mounts. The enemy monk was still conscious, holding her weapons, and weakly struggling with Bob's character. Seeing that one of the soldiers under my command was still in danger, and worried that if the monk reported back that Bob's character was working for our leader's empire it would start a war, I decided the best course of action was simply to kill the monk, hide the body, and leave before anyone else found us. So I went up and beheaded the monk while she was still on the ground.

Bob's character kind of went ape **** at that point, screaming at mine and wanting to know why I had killed her. I was still trying to talk the guards into surrendering and basically ignored him. The guards surrendered, though it turned out to be a bluff and we ended up having to kill them. While this was going on, Bob's character grabbed the body of the monk and jumped on his familiar/mount, which was a winged unicorn, and took off in the direction of the town.

Having no idea what he was going to do with the body, and worried that he might start a conflict with the unfriendly empire, I ordered him to come back. He ignored me. At that point, I did the only thing I could think of to stop him without killing him, and ordered the other party members with ranged attacks to shoot down his mount. It quickly became clear that he couldn't get away before we killed his mount (the DM told bob this) and I gave him one more chance in-character to come back. He ignored me again, and we killed his mount causing him to crash to the ground.

Bob's character then picked up the body of the dead monk and started running towards the unfriendly town on foot, with me not far behind him. He beat me there by a hair and waiting for us when we left the forest were some of the leaders of the unfriendly empire. He gave them the body of the monk, blamed the whole thing on me, turned and ran back into the woods. I stayed just long enough to tell them that he had disobeyed orders to start a conflict that we were trying to avoid then I left too.

When Bob's character and mine caught back up to the rest of the group, I told him in-character that if he ever disobeyed orders and put our mission in jeopardy like that again, I'd kill him. Later that day, Bob made it clear out-of-character that he wanted to kill my character's familiar in revenge for me ordering his killed.

A couple in-game days later, we ran across a caravan of people from my hometown with a badly wounded member. Since Bob's character was the only one with any medical skill, I asked him to help heal the injured guy's wounds in the hopes that they would be grateful and give us some information on my hometown. He refused. I ordered him, and he refused again. Finally the other guy with the rank of Captain asked him to do it and he did. Then as we were talking to them, he started blurting out who we were and what we were doing there, despite my character having asked everyone to keep quiet about our goals until we learned more information. I ordered his character to be quiet, and he ignored me again.

After the caravan left, I said we needed to talk. I apologized in-character for the necessity of having to kill the monk and Bob's character's mount, but pointed out that none of it would have happened had he followed orders like he was supposed to. I also told him that if he was unwilling to follow orders and wasn't going to use his abilities to help further our goals, then he was dead weight and he could leave. He made it clear that he would not be following any orders I gave. At this point, the DM suggested we could use a message spell to contact our leader and explain the situation, and ask for her advice. We did, and she ordered Bob's character to follow the orders of the other Captain in the group, and the other Captain to continue to follow my orders. Despite the ridiculousness of that solution, Bob's character seemed to agree with it, though he continued to ignore my character and any orders I gave until the other Captain passed them on. Out of character, the DM told us to please come up with a way to resolve this and not cause problems for him. I agreed to try, and Bob's response was that his character would not forgive what I did and would continue to play his character that way.

That's essentially where the session ended. After the session I told Bob that I was sorry that things fell out that way and hoped there were no hard feelings. His response was "**** you, you killed my horse". I think he was joking, but I don't know him well enough to be sure.

I'm looking for advice on two things here.

First is, despite the fact that things happened quickly, and I didn't have a lot of time to think of solutions to problems, I feel like I could have probably handled the situation better. I'm not sure exactly how though. So how would you have handled it given the situation and the restrictions I was working under. What would you have done to try to resolve the situation without it turning into a problem?

And secondly, I'm looking for advice on how to try to keep the conflict from escalating going forward. I don't want an in-game conflict to become an out-of-game conflict, and I don't want it to end up becoming a big problem for the DM. I'm willing to do things that are somewhat out of character for my character if it will help settle things down, but roleplaying is a relatively important part of the game, so I don't want to go too far outside what my character would do. So what is your advice on trying to smooth things over for the future?

Thump
2012-05-16, 06:31 PM
Is Bob's character a paladin? (TL, read most of it)

If he is, then I can see why.

This is why my DM doesn't like having LG paladins.

EDIT: Also, if he is a paladin, then in character, you've basically pissed him off to the point of possible no return. The mount is part of him, and you just killed it. It's like strangling a wizard's familiar.

First tip is possibly a party-wide atonement spell, since it won't use any EXP or material components.

Second, be gentle with the player and his character.

Third, talk to the DM with possibly giving his character a little something extra. Nothing big, but to cheer him up a little.

Hope this helps! :smallwink:

molten_dragon
2012-05-16, 06:36 PM
Is Bob's character a paladin? (TL, read most of it)

If he is, then I can see why.

This is why my DM doesn't like having LG paladins.

EDIT: Also, if he is a paladin, then in character, you've basically pissed him off to the point of possible no return. The mount is part of him, and you just killed it. It's like strangling a wizard's familiar.

First tip is possibly a party-wide atonement spell, since it won't use any EXP or material components.

Second, be gentle with the player and his character.

Third, talk to the DM with possibly giving his character a little something extra. Nothing big, but to cheer him up a little.

Hope this helps! :smallwink:

No, his character isn't a paladin. We're playing Exalted, not D&D. He didn't have any sort of mystical bond with his mount, he just really liked it.

Rallicus
2012-05-16, 06:37 PM
Bob's character grabbed the body of the monk and jumped on his familiar/mount, which was a winged unicorn, and took off in the direction of the town.

I laughed out loud at this part. Picturing a guy holding a headless corpse, hopping on to a unicorn and flying away is pretty hilarious, even if it wasn't intentional.

That said, your DM kind of dun' goofed. I don't know what sort of military they run in your campaign, but it seems incredibly laid back. A player with a lower rank disobeys a Captain, so the DM tries to remedy it by making a third party deliver orders to the lower ranking individual? Seriously... what.

What your DM should have done is make the superior officer smack some sense into Bob. They should have threatened him with a court marshal for disobeying a superior officer, which could mean the end of the campaign for Bob -- especially if it's a fantasy setting that allows it to be punishable by death.

I know you don't want to act out of character, but why would your character be a Captain if he can't lead? Why is he trying to cater to Bob's character? He's the leader, he made the decision he felt was right.

This is all assuming a functioning military, not some "let's all hold hands and be friends" thing.

If it's the latter, which is seems to be judging from the DM, you may as well just step down from your character's position as Captain and say, "You're right, I messed up, I'm sorry, now I'm your equal and can't give you orders."

That's the best I can come up with.

molten_dragon
2012-05-16, 06:50 PM
I know you don't want to act out of character, but why would your character be a Captain if he can't lead? Why is he trying to cater to Bob's character? He's the leader, he made the decision he felt was right.

Well, actually stripping him of rank and putting him in chains until we got back to the empire would be in-character for me. I take the military rank and following orders thing a bit more seriously than some of the other characters. My character is a capable leader.

But it's not about catering to Bob's character. It's not about in-character interaction at all. Ultimately the characters aren't what's important. We're playing a game, and I'm trying to resolve this issue so that the people playing the game (including the DM) can continue to enjoy it, rather than be a ****, even though it might be in-character, and end up making things a lot harder for the DM or pissing Bob off and he leaves the group.


This is all assuming a functioning military, not some "let's all hold hands and be friends" thing.

Like I said, it's a military with ranks, and we're expected to follow orders, but it's a bit looser than real-world military rules. We're something like a hybrid between a military special forces unit and a traditional adventuring party. And those of us with higher rank try not to pull rank and give a ton of orders all the time, because we don't want to make it unfun for the other players.

Dimers
2012-05-16, 07:27 PM
I have no meaningful comment, but I wanted to thank you for using the prefix "intra-" instead of the incorrect, but far more commonly-used, "inter-". A generation of teachers in my history felt a moment of peace wash over them and they don't know why. :smallamused:

dps
2012-05-16, 09:30 PM
I don't know, the conflict within the party seems to be driven by reasonable in-character motivations (though really, Bob probably should be court-martialed or the equivalent). It sounds like there might be out-of-character conflict brewing to, for no good reason that I can see except Bob being a jerk (keeping in mind that we only have your version of it to go by).

DabblerWizard
2012-05-16, 09:46 PM
It sounds like Bob, the player, is feeling pissed off out of character even though the conflict arose in-character. That's just my assumption.

An in-character solution might be possible, if his annoyance is primarily with your character OP, and not with you as a player. That sort of solution would be setting specific.

If he's angry at you as a person for messing with his character (or whatever), then you'll need to find an out of character solution to the issue. Bob might need a chance to vent why he's annoyed. OP, you could also explain your reasoning to him, and make amends if you feel a need to apologize.

molten_dragon
2012-05-17, 06:17 AM
I don't know, the conflict within the party seems to be driven by reasonable in-character motivations (though really, Bob probably should be court-martialed or the equivalent).

He may still be court-martialed. We all may be for that matter. But we haven't returned back to report to our leader yet.

molten_dragon
2012-05-17, 06:18 AM
It sounds like Bob, the player, is feeling pissed off out of character even though the conflict arose in-character. That's just my assumption.

An in-character solution might be possible, if his annoyance is primarily with your character OP, and not with you as a player. That sort of solution would be setting specific.

If he's angry at you as a person for messing with his character (or whatever), then you'll need to find an out of character solution to the issue. Bob might need a chance to vent why he's annoyed. OP, you could also explain your reasoning to him, and make amends if you feel a need to apologize.

We're not playing again for two weeks, so I'm hoping tempers will have cooled by the next session. Maybe then I can get a better feel for whether this has stayed an in-game problem or has spilled over into an out-of-game problem.

Madeiner
2012-05-17, 07:25 AM
I think you should have used the equivalent of non-lethal damage to attack Bob's horse. Or, the DM should have suggested it, if he could foresee that it was going to cause problems.

Ask the dm if the horse can be resurrected. I still believe Bob's character should be punished... but maybe this time you may decide to gloss over it, to keep OC peace.

Sidmen
2012-05-17, 09:35 AM
I think you should have used the equivalent of non-lethal damage to attack Bob's horse. Or, the DM should have suggested it, if he could foresee that it was going to cause problems.

Ask the dm if the horse can be resurrected. I still believe Bob's character should be punished... but maybe this time you may decide to gloss over it, to keep OC peace.

Neither of these suggestions are possible if the DM is holding to the universe of Exalted. Matters can be escalated to lethality with trivial ease - while non-lethal combat is relatively difficult to pull off, but once something is dead - it stays dead.

I know it doesn't help, but I see your problem stemming directly from your rash decision to intervene in Bob's duel and murdering a monk. Why did you decide "If I kill this person and hide her body, we won't be identified" when: the hills have spirits watching you, the trees have spirits watching you, the lakes and rivers and streams are watching you, on and on virtually forever.

You should shoot Bob an email, apologize for the rash decision and tell him that it spiraled out of control from there in a direction you did not like. IE: the truth. Ask him how he thinks this should be resolved, and let him know that PvP conflict is NOT a solution you have even the slightest interest in. If he says that he doesn't think it can be resolved - tell your GM that one of your characters needs to be retired.

Edit: Oh, and absolutely DO NOT WAIT for the day of the game to get this figured out.

Ranos
2012-05-17, 09:38 AM
No horse resurrection, this is exalted.
Are you decent at social combat ? Or is there someone else in the group who's decent at social combat and who would want things to go back to normal ? If so, it might be brainwashing convincing time.

molten_dragon
2012-05-17, 05:01 PM
I think you should have used the equivalent of non-lethal damage to attack Bob's horse. Or, the DM should have suggested it, if he could foresee that it was going to cause problems.

Ask the dm if the horse can be resurrected. I still believe Bob's character should be punished... but maybe this time you may decide to gloss over it, to keep OC peace.

Non-lethal damage does exist in Exalted (bashing damage) and that's a good thing for me to keep in mind if something like this ever comes up again, but I don't think it would have helped this situation. The only two people with ranged weapons had a bow and a magic gem that shoots lasers, neither of which was capable of doing bashing damage.

And the DM hinted that the horse may come back somehow. I'm not really sure, since resurrection doesn't exist in the game as far as I know. Reincarnation does, so maybe that's what he meant.

molten_dragon
2012-05-17, 05:40 PM
I know it doesn't help, but I see your problem stemming directly from your rash decision to intervene in Bob's duel and murdering a monk.

I don't really agree with you here. The root cause was Bob charging into a fight when he should have avoided it and then not explaining anything to anyone in- or out-of-game so that we had some context for what his character was doing. And no one was intervening in a duel (other party members got involved as well). There was no duel. Neither Bob's character nor the monk asked anyone else not to get involved.

However, you're correct in that it isn't helpful. I'm sure everyone has different ideas of whose fault it is. Realistically, everyone involved is to blame to some degree or another. But what's done is done, and at the moment I'm looking for how to move forward, and how to avoid a similar situation in the future, not to lay blame.


Why did you decide "If I kill this person and hide her body, we won't be identified" when: the hills have spirits watching you, the trees have spirits watching you, the lakes and rivers and streams are watching you, on and on virtually forever.

Well, partially because I've only been playing exalted for a couple months, and didn't think about it. But even if I had, it probably wouldn't have changed anything. There's a big difference between a monk giving a report saying "I ran into the wanted criminal and several of his allies who were officers in Victory's army" and getting some rough descriptions of us out of spirits who (at least this is the way the DM has been playing it) don't pay a whole lot of attention to the actions of mortals.


You should shoot Bob an email, apologize for the rash decision and tell him that it spiraled out of control from there in a direction you did not like. IE: the truth. Ask him how he thinks this should be resolved, and let him know that PvP conflict is NOT a solution you have even the slightest interest in. If he says that he doesn't think it can be resolved - tell your GM that one of your characters needs to be retired.

Well, I don't have the e-mail. So I may e-mail the DM and see what he thinks I should do. He's known Bob longer than I have, and may have a better idea whether Bob is upset out-of-game or just in-game.

molten_dragon
2012-05-17, 05:43 PM
No horse resurrection, this is exalted.
Are you decent at social combat ? Or is there someone else in the group who's decent at social combat and who would want things to go back to normal ? If so, it might be brainwashing convincing time.

I don't think the DM is using social combat rules. At least I don't think he is, since we've never been in a situation where someone has had the opportunity to force someone to act against their nature.

I'm not sure that would really help the situation though. It might just escalate things further.

Ranos
2012-05-17, 05:50 PM
Yeah, I got the idea from the post that the conflict was in-character. If the guy is actually pissed off out-of-character for some reason, that's another thing entirely.