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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    So, I'm running a Savage Tide (Paizo 3.5 Adventure Path) game here on the forums, and I've run into a pickle. Basically, two PCs have come into conflict, and are refusing to work together.

    A bit of background information; Player A is playing a psyforged. In this case, his creation was accidental, meaning he's the only one of his kind. Being only 3 years old, the character is somewhat naive and not entirely emotionally mature. Player B is playing a gladiator. Character B's first comment upon seeing Character A was to assume that Character A was a non-sapient construct and to order Character A to go about his business. Not all that unreasonable, but the problem came in when Character B refused to consider Character A as a person at all. I mean, it might not be a problem if his character just quietly resented Character A, but in this Character B has been outright insulting and ignored much of the input from Character A. As a result, Character A (Being, after all, a 3 year old in many ways), stormed off in a huff on his own. The rest of the party has tried to mediate to some extent, but it still hasn't really worked. I've tried talking with the players some, but we seem to have come to a bit of an impasse here. Does anyone have any advice?
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    Dwarf in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Any character problem can be easily solved, as long as it's not also a player problem. In this case, one easy out is: The Psyforged character completely ignores the other character and interacts with other party members while doing his own thing. The other character sees him (in battle, etc) and realizes, slowly but surely, that the psyforged is indeed a person on its own right, and grudgingly begins to respect him.

    If the players refuse to go with something like this ... then you have a real problem.

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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Tell player B to choose not being a jerk. If player B refuses, tell him he's no longer player B.

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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Suggest that character B's reaction/opinion was their initial reaction/option, and now that they have had time to see that character A is actually sapient, they accept that and treat them like a person.

    If you/your-group is dramatically aware enough, work this out through actual play, with character B actually seeing that character A is free-thinking and not just following programming.

    Character B's reaction isn't that strange:
    Imagine that you have worked with/looked after 100 ordinary horses, then you encounter a horse with human intelligence but no speech. How long would it take to really grok that this horse is special and should be treated differently?
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Just an interesting note on the subject of interparty conflict: In an Avatar RPG i'm in, my character managed to really tick off the party assassin by challenging a new party member to a duel. (In my defense, this was supposed to be the intro scene for that character, and literally the first thing the new character did was insult my character's religion, nation, race, and personal morals).

    Now, my character is a bender, and the assassin has specifically optimized his build to kill benders, plus the new character got in a really lucky shot on me at the very start, so I went down to 0 hp really easily. However, from that point on, the universe itself would not let my character die. First the character I'd just challenged forcibly stopping the bender from killing me, then the clerics whose temple we were in managed to intimidate the assassin into not killing me while under thier protection. Then a third party member dropped a wall on me but I somehow survived. Then the assassin tried to stab me, but his dagger snapped off in my armor. At that point the assassin literally said, "Fine, if the spirits want him alive that badly, I give up."
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Player B has actually talked about just that; His character gradually learning to respect Character A. The problem at this point is getting them in the same place at all. Both players are being a little stubborn here; At this point, Character A is refusing to go along with the go in guns blazing solution the majority of the group has adopted (Actually, 3 out of the five players have expressed some objection, but Player A and another player both got seperated, so the remaining 3 have kind of... Let me draw out the situation here.

    Character A: Sulking and trying to come up with a non-violent solution to the problem on his own. He knows what the rest of the group is doing thanks to his Psycrystal, but he can't really relay input here.
    Character B, C, and D: Working on a plan to take back the ship the party has been hired to take back via force. Character A's psycrystal is with this group, but he refuses to join them as long as Character B is in charge.
    Character E: Stayed behind to express concerns about Character A and B's feud to the party's employer, and has since gone off to meditate and observe in his rowboat.

    So, at this point, I'm struggling to get all 5 characters in the same place at once.
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Put them both in a locked room with a knife each and let them sort it out for themselves. The players, not the characters.

    I hate seeing this crap. There's a line between playing a jerk and being a jerk. It sounds like player B has crossed that line. Tell him to take a step back, and retcon some of the more problematic exchanges between the characters.

    That first bit was a joke, btw.
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Kelb hit it on the head. Except the part about the first line being a joke. That's the best "roleplaying game" I've ever heard of.

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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Now, now. Let's not openly advocate violence until open communication has at least been given a fair shot.

    If communication doesn't work, you may ultimately have to give him the steve treatment. (anybody got a link to that? It always makes me laugh.)

    If your a panzy that wants to avoid assualt charges and player B refuses to cooperate after a good talk, then he may need to be asked to roll up a new character or leave.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    I've actually played a similar character to Player A's before - a warforged, the only warforged, in fact, that accidentally gained sentience just a few weeks before the game started. I think there actually was a character or two that treated it in much the same way as Player B, but my DB-16 would never have gone off sulking. It would be far more likely to just do what it was told... until it felt like doing something else, and then it would. Or there might be a string of "why?" questions. Going back to have a look at it again... Yes, the DM always made sure that any NPCs were really weirded out by my character, and we all spent the first couple of pages referring to DB-16 as "the contraption". At one point it got put in a storeroom. *sigh* I miss that game, and that character, so much...
    Anyway, my point is, so long as it's only between the characters, I think that's a great interaction to have going. I mean, I think it sounds like they're both roleplaying really well and interestingly, they could just stand to relax it a bit for practical purposes, and maybe work together to keep it interesting without getting in the way of the story. It sounds more like the biggest problem is that, partly because of this interaction, your party's annoyingly split.
    There's two main options to bring them back together that I can see without knowing the exact details of what's going on:
    1. Out of character, you talk to the group as a whole and just say "I'm having trouble dealing with you being split up. Please work with me to get you all back together again."
    2. In-character, give them motivation to get back together. An event, a disturbance, something that will get all of their attention and bring them to the same place.
    These aren't mutually exclusive, either.
    Last edited by Serpentine; 2012-10-30 at 02:53 AM.

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    BlueWizardGirl

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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    I'm a bit confused. This is not a player conflict? This is a character conflict. This is simply two in game characters having a conflict with each other. Fantasy characters having fantasy conflicts in a fantasy world. And that is all fine, and that is role playing.

    But, now you also have players, the real people that control the characters. Now the players can play a character as 'good' and 'real' as they would like it. BUT they are always, still, a player in a group game. And the real people have to look beyond the game and look at the other real people playing the game. So even if character A and B don't like each other, player A and B must at least be agreeable people.

    And when character A and B are not getting along, it's player A and B that have to step back and say ''Well, we both are playing this game together and need to both have fun and not have conflict to such an extent that it interferes with the game."

    For an easy example, just look at any fiction. It's common to have fictional characters that don't get along. But you will also note that it does not over rule and ruin the story. For example in (Marvel's) Avengers Cap and Iron Man don't get along so well for a nice bit of conflict, but it does not derail the whole movie. The movie does not become Cap vs Iron Man conflict fest, and it gets pushed aside after the attacks. And you can see the same thing in any TV show or movie. And for the bigger point, any actor, even if given characters that don't get along would never ruin a show/movie over it.

    And it's simple enough to have two characters, that don't like each other, but they get along 'just enough' to get by. So why not just have the players do this?

  12. - Top - End - #12
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    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Any more, Alot of char conflicts are proxies for player conflict. Occasionally this is something that needs to be ruled out or addressed.
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Quote Originally Posted by Squark View Post
    Player B has actually talked about just that; His character gradually learning to respect Character A. The problem at this point is getting them in the same place at all. Both players are being a little stubborn here; At this point, Character A is refusing to go along with the go in guns blazing solution the majority of the group has adopted (Actually, 3 out of the five players have expressed some objection, but Player A and another player both got seperated, so the remaining 3 have kind of... Let me draw out the situation here.

    Character A: Sulking and trying to come up with a non-violent solution to the problem on his own. He knows what the rest of the group is doing thanks to his Psycrystal, but he can't really relay input here.
    Character B, C, and D: Working on a plan to take back the ship the party has been hired to take back via force. Character A's psycrystal is with this group, but he refuses to join them as long as Character B is in charge.
    Character E: Stayed behind to express concerns about Character A and B's feud to the party's employer, and has since gone off to meditate and observe in his rowboat.

    So, at this point, I'm struggling to get all 5 characters in the same place at once.
    Heh. I am very familiar with the situation. I've struggled with the same problem in one of my games. Effectively, if I read this aright, Character B is fairly firmly set in their ways, and Player B wants to be faithful to their character. That's all well and good. Unfortunately, Player B seems to be stuck in a rut. Same for Player A, really.

    This is definitely something you need to discuss in detail, privately, more than just dropping advice. (In my example, it was a character who became more and more misanthropic and driven to loathe the other characters. I'm still trying to figure out how to convince the player that there's options other than driving the character into the same rut.)

    I may be wrong, but in my experience, it comes from players who treat their character as a straitjacket, instead of a bunch of possibilities. AKA "My character has been acting this way, and the only way I know how to keep it consistent is to continue on this path." I'm not saying that they don't want to pull the character out of the rut.

    However, I think what they don't realize is that their actions are nevertheless driving the character back into the rut and obliterating any baby steps towards a character arc.

    Actually, you know what? Here's an idea.

    Do or do not, there is no "eventually". I am not a fan of playing that seeks to "gradually develop" a character towards a goal far in the distance. So you want the eventual goal of respect/friendship. That's a really cool plot arc. But without concrete steps in the way, the character will never arrive at that end goal.

    So break it down. Discuss with the players what immediate goal characters A and B can work towards. Make it something concrete that can be accomplished in the session. Something like "Sit through a helping of Character B's crap without getting mad," or "Help Character A out with something."

    Keep the eventual goals in mind, but don't set them as your immediate goalposts. Achieve the small goals which build up to that. And advocate for change now. You can't afford to "develop", which is really unconscious shorthand for "meander about thinking about getting to that point". True development comes from constant action.

    EDIT: One last thought on the current situation. Character A is searching for a non-violent solution? Toss them something, a possible answer, that will bring them back into contact with the rest of the group.
    Last edited by CarpeGuitarrem; 2012-10-30 at 10:49 AM.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Thanks for the help. I think part of the problem is I was a bit too passive early on, and didn't really address the issues until they came to a head. So, the plan here is to get the group back together, and to at least give Player A a chance to negotiate (and prove his worth to Character B, which is what Player B thinks his character needs to see). Hopefully everything goes well.
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Drama is essentially all about inter character conflict, which is what you have here. Character development, in this context, would be about characters encountering such conflicts and 'growing' as a result, likely character B will develop because of this drama. This is all good role-playing.

    Also: you do not have a divided party. A divided party is one which actively pursues two different paths at the same time. What you have here is a discussion taking place in three different locations. I suspect, where the balloon to go up, they would all rally to one location in short order.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    The main issue here is I'm having trouble getting the players to work together, so the game is grinding to a halt. Also, the rest of the party is frustrated by the lack of progress, and, frankly, I suspect Player A and B are too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    Now, now. Let's not openly advocate violence until open communication has at least been given a fair shot.

    If communication doesn't work, you may ultimately have to give him the steve treatment. (anybody got a link to that? It always makes me laugh.)

    If your a panzy that wants to avoid assualt charges and player B refuses to cooperate after a good talk, then he may need to be asked to roll up a new character or leave.
    Steve Treatment? Could someone explain this to me?
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Quote Originally Posted by Squark View Post
    Thanks for the help. I think part of the problem is I was a bit too passive early on, and didn't really address the issues until they came to a head. So, the plan here is to get the group back together, and to at least give Player A a chance to negotiate (and prove his worth to Character B, which is what Player B thinks his character needs to see). Hopefully everything goes well.
    I hear ya. That's a tough spot, and here's hoping you can all wrangle out of it. Most importantly, keep in mind that it's probably nothing actually malicious (though I suspect you know that).

    Other question--have you had a chance to really talk things over with all the players? So long as it doesn't start turning into a blame-fest, it could really help. I suggest moving the conversation towards "any ideas on how we can get these characters working together?"
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Not sure why everyone seems to be treating Player B as the problem. The way I've read it, B is already interested in playing out the necessary character development on his part, but A is refusing to work with any of the other party members long enough for that to reasonably happen.
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Quote Originally Posted by Squark View Post
    The main issue here is I'm having trouble getting the players to work together, so the game is grinding to a halt. Also, the rest of the party is frustrated by the lack of progress, and, frankly, I suspect Player A and B are too.



    Steve Treatment? Could someone explain this to me?
    It's much more comedicly phrased, and I couldn't do it justice if I tried, but it basically amounts to hitting "steve" (the problem player) with a steel chair until he either learns to act right or is incapable of continuing to act wrong. It was another joke.

    I have a rather twisted sense of humor and I was pretty tired when I posted that. My appropriate content filter gets a little thin when I'm tired.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    [...] bringing Kelb in on your side in a rules fight is like bringing Mike Tyson in on your side to fight a toddler. You can, but it's such massive overkill.
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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Everyone at the game table should have one common goal: having the game be fun for everyone involved. That includes the DM and all the players.

    Intra-party conflict can be enjoyable and dramatic. And that's awesome, as long as it's fun for all the players involved. If your "roleplaying" is causing a game to be less fun for others, then take a step back from the game and either change how you're RPing your character, make a new character, or just keep stepping back.

    IMO, this problem (like oh so many others) is best handled as a personal issue, outside the game.

    -O

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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Not sure why everyone seems to be treating Player B as the problem. The way I've read it, B is already interested in playing out the necessary character development on his part, but A is refusing to work with any of the other party members long enough for that to reasonably happen.
    I agree, except that I don't think either is really a problem. They just need to start working together ooc to work out how to play this out ic without messing up the game.

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    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Perhaps I should put it this way; The problem is not the conflict itself, but that the conflict is making the game frustrating for the rest of the party.

    Now... To see how many of the players are still following the IC and OOC threads.
    Last edited by Squark; 2012-10-31 at 10:47 AM.
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    Colossus in the Playground
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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    Yep. Like I said, you need to give the characters opportunities and motivations in-game to get back together again, and the players out-of-game a talking-to about taking advantage of those opportunities and motivations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelb_Panthera View Post
    It's much more comedicly phrased, and I couldn't do it justice if I tried, but it basically amounts to hitting "steve" (the problem player) with a steel chair until he either learns to act right or is incapable of continuing to act wrong. It was another joke.

    I have a rather twisted sense of humor and I was pretty tired when I posted that. My appropriate content filter gets a little thin when I'm tired.
    At first I thought you meant THIS Steve Treatment.

    Which might work. You know. If the boat they're on turns out to actually be part of the dock, the Warforged is sitting on the shoreline thinking he's in a room, and the guy "Going back to tak to the employer" is about to make a save VS dominate.

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    Default Re: Help dealing with interplayer conflict

    That's just how tired I was. I completely forgot about steve the aboleth. I loved steve the aboleth too. That's more for a party that refuses to learn than an individual problem player though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThiagoMartell View Post
    Kelb, recently it looks like you're the Avatar of Reason in these forums, man.
    Quote Originally Posted by LTwerewolf View Post
    [...] bringing Kelb in on your side in a rules fight is like bringing Mike Tyson in on your side to fight a toddler. You can, but it's such massive overkill.
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