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Archlyte

I feel PvP should be a consensual RP Choice

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I have been debating this a bit with some of my friends and I have come to the conclusion that one player using his agency to remove another player's character from the game needs to be completely about what is going on in the game world, and the other player needs to be in on it. I also don't like to have competition as an element in TTRPGs. I don't want there to be a final win/lose condition, don't want players competing against the GM or vice versa, or each other. When someone has an awesome character you should see that as being a great addition to your team, not a threat to your ego. Also a powerful character should not be a wedge to be used against another player unless it is all about what is actually going on in the game world--not about what is happening between the players around the table. 

So many games, over the years, where someone passes a note to the GM and then the next thing you know two PC's are rolling initiative against each other. I feel like one of the reasons this happens is that there is the assumption that I can weaponize my agency against yours. Even in games with tyrannical control-freak GM's it seems like once the characters decide to fight, the GM often abdicates responsibility and becomes caeser watching gladiators fight for the amusement. 

How do you handle this in your games? Are players advised as to what it would look like if a fight breaks out between PCs? Are they advised as to what conditions this is allowed to occur?

I think this should be a point of clarification at the game start. Players should be able to know the limits of their agency where removing another player's character from play is concerned. 

 

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5 minutes ago, Vorzakk said:

Mainly by not GMing for people who do these kinds of things. 

If it ever does come up, it's discussed ooc between the players first. 

Which to me is fantastic. I have a friend who uses Roll20 a lot and he said there is not even a filter for it. I was amazed. It's the wild west out there lol. 

I think that's an absolutely necessary dialogue to have with each other. 

So let's say we have a situation where I'm playing a Bounty Hunter and you are playing a Smuggler and I find out you have a 45,000 cr bounty on you dead or alive. I am thinking we discuss this OOC because the characters are together and they just learned this at the same time and the two characters are not bonded to each other yet in any way because it's early in the campaign or we didn't do anything in the creation to set that up. I'm thinking I turn to you and go ok how should we play this out? 

That seems reasonable to me, and if you say well I don't want my character to die or leave the game by going to prison, then I feel like I should work with you on that instead of saying "I attack him."  What do you think?

Edited by Archlyte

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8 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

So let's say we have a situation where I'm playing a Bounty Hunter and you are playing a Smuggler and I find out you have a 45,000 cr bounty on you dead or alive. I am thinking we discuss this OOC because the characters are together and they just learned this at the same time and the two characters are not bonded to each other yet in any way because it's early in the campaign or we didn't do anything in the creation to set that up. I'm thinking I turn to you and go ok how should we play this out? 

That seems reasonable to me, and if you say well I don't want my character to die or leave the game by going to prison, then I feel like I should work with you on that instead of saying "I attack him."  What do you think?

This should be a Session 0 discussion: Why are our characters together and working together? It shouldn't be left until the first session to figure out. Ideally, the bounty hunter is the smuggler's brother, or they helped each other break out of prison and owe each other their lives, or they simply understand that it's expedient to work together right now because the same Hutt crime lord is after both and won't look kindly on either if they're caught. In other words, avoid the situation with careful prep and planning with the players.

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20 minutes ago, Archlyte said:

How do you handle this in your games? Are players advised as to what it would look like if a fight breaks out between PCs? Are they advised as to what conditions this is allowed to occur?

I think you'd be hard pressed to find a GM that doesn't share this sentiment. Not that they don't exist, but we don't see many of them around here.

The only times I've had PvP situations come up, they were both a.) anticipated ahead of time, and b.) completely RP-driven. When I see a situation developing that might lead to PvP and it's not intentional on the part of all players involved, I stop the game and talk about it. I also remind them of my table's Golden Rule, which is: "All PCs must be willing to work together." Playing in an RPG is like being in an issue of The Justice League, not an issue of Batman

If everyone agrees that a fight makes sense and that (crucially) they'd be willing to keep playing even if the worst possible outcome were to happen, I let them play it out. Otherwise, I shut it down.

2 minutes ago, SavageBob said:

This should be a Session 0 discussion: Why are our characters together and working together? It shouldn't be left until the first session to figure out. 

This is, to me, the reason to have a Session Zero in the first place. Sure, it's cool to do some world building, but this is key.

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Well, I have a table full of adults at my table that have agreed they are there to be adventurers with common cause and a need to work as a team.  If it did break out, the 'greater threat' would undoubtedly appear suddenly and get everyone back on the same page.  Then me and Mr. problem child would have an out of game/session conversation privately that would be brief with me doing all the talking and most of the words having one syllable.  Someone wants to PvP, keep your *** at home and play your xbox.

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It all comes back to what you all want to play - in the end, if everyone's on board with a little PVP then what's the harm?  But if one person isn't into it, then it should be off the table for the group as it is -- and what's wrong with a smaller subset that gets together just to fight each other some other time?  It's true that PVP is mostly frowned upon from my experience, but it is important to point out that only you and your table can determine what's fun for you.  You're doing nothing wrong if everyone is having fun.

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Honestly I'm on the boat of "I would prefer to avoid PvP but if both party members are in consent about the pvp and understand potential issues that could arise from it, then I'll monitor it and let the dice roll." Course my group is made up of 2 criminals on the run, an escape Slave, and a homebrewed Grappler Droideka. So Dynamics with this group are already interesting. But I've been in the groups where the GM doesn't directly push PvP on a situation but instead uses the idea of "Well this guy is motivated by credits and these NPCs want the other PC's bounty, so what if they convince him to sell him out for half the bounty" Course in the end my guy protected the other party member, and he convinced the NPCs not to turn in his bounty, but it made for an interesting story development. 

The kind of PvP i wouldn't allow is straight out "so can i just blast so and so cause my character doesn't like them." or something similar to that, where it becomes a Gladiatorial thing among the party.

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4 hours ago, Archlyte said:

How do you handle this in your games? 

I think this should be a point of clarification at the game start. 

I think you nailed it. I always explain to my players that I run cooperative games. I'm also overly cautious about never doing anything to directly or indirectly instill inter-party conflict. Set expectations up front and often.   

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4 hours ago, SavageBob said:

This should be a Session 0 discussion: Why are our characters together and working together? It shouldn't be left until the first session to figure out. Ideally, the bounty hunter is the smuggler's brother, or they helped each other break out of prison and owe each other their lives, or they simply understand that it's expedient to work together right now because the same Hutt crime lord is after both and won't look kindly on either if they're caught. In other words, avoid the situation with careful prep and planning with the players.

I like this Bob, but what I am discovering is that this is not common practice from the people I am talking to and who are admittedly community game people, not people who have a static group of friends whom they play with regularly. It surprises me that especially under those conditions there is no session 0 declaration concerning fratricide among PC's. I would be ok with it in either direction (though wouldn't want to participate if it's PvP) as long as it is a position that is staked out. I agree with you as well that it extends to the agreement that the group will work together and not strike out in different directions and not be a group at all. 

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3 hours ago, themensch said:

It all comes back to what you all want to play - in the end, if everyone's on board with a little PVP then what's the harm?  But if one person isn't into it, then it should be off the table for the group as it is -- and what's wrong with a smaller subset that gets together just to fight each other some other time?  It's true that PVP is mostly frowned upon from my experience, but it is important to point out that only you and your table can determine what's fun for you.  You're doing nothing wrong if everyone is having fun.

Yeah I agree and I know that it's not my thing to have competition in TTRPGs so you are right, I was speaking of my own convictions. I feel there is a Safety Phrase joke in this somewhere but I will leave that alone :) Thanks for bringing the alternate view to the discussion Mensch, it's appreciated. 

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2 hours ago, TheJokerOfSocal said:

Honestly I'm on the boat of "I would prefer to avoid PvP but if both party members are in consent about the pvp and understand potential issues that could arise from it, then I'll monitor it and let the dice roll." Course my group is made up of 2 criminals on the run, an escape Slave, and a homebrewed Grappler Droideka. So Dynamics with this group are already interesting. But I've been in the groups where the GM doesn't directly push PvP on a situation but instead uses the idea of "Well this guy is motivated by credits and these NPCs want the other PC's bounty, so what if they convince him to sell him out for half the bounty" Course in the end my guy protected the other party member, and he convinced the NPCs not to turn in his bounty, but it made for an interesting story development. 

The kind of PvP i wouldn't allow is straight out "so can i just blast so and so cause my character doesn't like them." or something similar to that, where it becomes a Gladiatorial thing among the party.

Yeah I agree the worst for of this to me is when two players are actually pissed at each other and want to have it out via the characters. I also think you bring up a valid point that certain groups and the tone of your campaign may lend itself more to this. If you have Trandoshans in the party it's a near certainty because F Trandoshans lol. But in all seriousness I think there are situations were that kind of conflict could be cool, but only if it's in the cards for that game. I think it's something that should at least be staked out in Session 0 as the standing view o it, but situationally things can happen if it's legit RP as far as I'm concerned. Which means hurt post combat needs to be at zero. 

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1 minute ago, Archlyte said:

Yeah I agree the worst for of this to me is when two players are actually pissed at each other and want to have it out via the characters. I also think you bring up a valid point that certain groups and the tone of your campaign may lend itself more to this. If you have Trandoshans in the party it's a near certainty because F Trandoshans lol. But in all seriousness I think there are situations were that kind of conflict could be cool, but only if it's in the cards for that game. I think it's something that should at least be staked out in Session 0 as the standing view o it, but situationally things can happen if it's legit RP as far as I'm concerned. Which means hurt post combat needs to be at zero. 

Luckily I was at my computer to read this response lol. If two players get pissed at each other, that's something that the GM needs to try and help resolve OOC. That's something I lay down before we even do session 0. Now PvP itself is interesting because of the degrees of PvP. Like for example my Bothan player attempted to steal from my Twi'lek player but failed, and so that was a source of narrative PvP between the characters (because they still hadn't been traveling together for long) so I think implementing the right forms of PvP is key as well, cause I think we all forget that Player Vs Player doesn't have to be Player Harm Player, or Player kill Player. 

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PvP is alot of the reason I dont do the you just met start of a game. Nothing kills a game quite so fast as the players deciding they cant trust one another. Thats players, not characters.

My base rule is that if it gets to PvP, unless there is a very good reason for it, the players are going to suddenly find out that the GM is a player too, and he doesnt like having his prep time blown out the airlock because of stupid player drama. It ruins my fun really quick, so knock it off or go away.

So my session zero includes 'How did you guys get together?' as part of the session and everything will be out in the open. The bounty hunter will have a reason why he wont turn in the smuggler before we start. If you want to play someone who will backstab the party, I will simply say no. 

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For us so far simple OOC warnings have worked fine. The general OOC assumption is that "You look thrustworthy" applies, which means players will do their best without breaking their character concepts to form a stable group. If something looks like IC actions would break the group, OOC warnings usually work fine. 

But sure, if the situation arises that player vs player conflict comes up during gameplay ... it's kind of rare and I think in over 20 years, I can only remember of one case and this was resolved by a duel over religious differences, with nobody dying in the end. Just someone gotten badly hurt and left behind. That character actually returned even later after the character he was in conflict with died to a bad roll. 

There are rather few cases imho when this really matters ... unless a player wants to be intentional be a jerk or the group composition starts in a way which is stretching plausibility from the start already. Every other violent conflict within the group seems to be usually pre-planned or literal accidents. Like 2 of my characters got killed by mistakes of other players. Turns out, brain surgery is actually hard to do when you are a troll shaman guided by the voices in his head and spray bullets are bad when you get them into the head. 

Edited by SEApocalypse

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5 hours ago, SEApocalypse said:

For us so far simple OOC warnings have worked fine. The general OOC assumption is that "You look thrustworthy" applies, which means players will do their best without breaking their character concepts to form a stable group. If something looks like IC actions would break the group, OOC warnings usually work fine. 

But sure, if the situation arises that player vs player conflict comes up during gameplay ... it's kind of rare and I think in over 20 years, I can only remember of one case and this was resolved by a duel over religious differences, with nobody dying in the end. Just someone gotten badly hurt and left behind. That character actually returned even later after the character he was in conflict with died to a bad roll. 

There are rather few cases imho when this really matters ... unless a player wants to be intentional be a jerk or the group composition starts in a way which is stretching plausibility from the start already. Every other violent conflict within the group seems to be usually pre-planned or literal accidents. Like 2 of my characters got killed by mistakes of other players. Turns out, brain surgery is actually hard to do when you are a troll shaman guided by the voices in his head and spray bullets are bad when you get them into the head. 

I'm not sure why your post made me think of this, but there is this thing sometimes where you get a player who does act like a jerk in-character, and then is amazed when he gets attacked. Usually someone with some acting experience or that sort of personality. They instigate a fight but seem to expect it will only be verbal. 

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23 hours ago, Archlyte said:

How do you handle this in your games?

"I want to shoot my pilot friend in the back!"

"No. Now moving on. . . ."

EDIT - actually there was that one time, playing Cyberpunk 2020 where the Good, Upstanding Police Officer PC (who was trying to play a paladin in the entirely wrong setting) tried to arrest the rest of the PCs for some petty crime. That ended . . . badly for him.

Edited by Desslok

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On 5/24/2018 at 12:24 PM, Desslok said:

"I want to shoot my pilot friend in the back!"

"No. Now moving on. . . ."

EDIT - actually there was that one time, playing Cyberpunk 2020 where the Good, Upstanding Police Officer PC (who was trying to play a paladin in the entirely wrong setting) tried to arrest the rest of the PCs for some petty crime. That ended . . . badly for him.

Gotta love a system where 8 points of damage = death.  Half that for a headshot.  Things often ended badly for my PCs back in those days.... 

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31 minutes ago, themensch said:

Gotta love a system where 8 points of damage = death.  Half that for a headshot.  Things often ended badly for my PCs back in those days.... 

I was in suspense while playing Cyberpunk because I knew one shot could kill me. Good Times. 

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Pvp Milage depends on the group, campaign and expectations. One thing that was established early on in our group, especially after we were betrayed by our Npc captain (working as double agent for empire) our squad in general adopted a zero tolerance strategy for defectors, if you defected from the alliance we would do our damndest to bring you in, body bag or not. Thus far we have had four characters do that, one was a triple agent who successfully completed her objective and helped bust the squad out after my character completed the assassination of her father (a great Moffat), the other three end up escaping with their lives (once, only with their life) and were subsequently written out or turned into future nemeses, or worked for other companies that weren't a squad target.

Basically, if anything was started by anyone being a bit of a tool knew up front that we would police our own squad, and that any character who acted in a matter directly in adversity to the squad would either return to the alliance for a court martial, or in a body bag. Yeah, our squad might have a bad rep, but we are incredibly self moderating.

 

Most of the time conflict is resolved less dramatically then that, and even in the few times it could potentially have turned up (one time a pc was working with an inquisitor for a mutural objective, Tobin encountered that character right after feeling a comrade die in the force, thus he almost went to blows with his own student.) Thing is, I expect and relish character conflict, especially in the force and destiny setting where characters of differing ideologies can and will bring conflict. The key thing is recognising how to use it. "I hate you therefore you must die" is lazy. Maybe it's a hostage motivated situation, or a conflict of perspective over a religious item or something. Or both players are on different sides of the same job with something to lose, something that should totally stain character relationships, that is awesome.

after all, the player isn't their character, doing it any other way is just flawed and restricts potential fun.

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On 5/23/2018 at 9:53 PM, Archlyte said:

Which to me is fantastic. I have a friend who uses Roll20 a lot and he said there is not even a filter for it. I was amazed. It's the wild west out there lol. 

I think that's an absolutely necessary dialogue to have with each other. 

So let's say we have a situation where I'm playing a Bounty Hunter and you are playing a Smuggler and I find out you have a 45,000 cr bounty on you dead or alive. I am thinking we discuss this OOC because the characters are together and they just learned this at the same time and the two characters are not bonded to each other yet in any way because it's early in the campaign or we didn't do anything in the creation to set that up. I'm thinking I turn to you and go ok how should we play this out? 

That seems reasonable to me, and if you say well I don't want my character to die or leave the game by going to prison, then I feel like I should work with you on that instead of saying "I attack him."  What do you think?

This is why we create characters together at the start of a new campaign. I really don’t care for inventing some convoluted reason for why diametrically opposed characters would play nice with each other (especially if the idea is for these characters to last multiple campaigns); it also seems silly that the players would create their character exactly to their liking without thinking about the group dynamic only to have to play it in a way that doesn’t mess up that group dynamic too much. 

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If it happened now in any of my games I'd tell the initiating player to log onto Fortnite... only if one PC is mind controlled by an NPC (the vamp lord Strahd did it to one of our troupe) should this happen,,,

That's why Paranoia as an rpg was so popular...

I'd stop the game and say... 'Has this happened in any SW films?' Did Luke and Han dish it for Leia's affections?... tbh it's not in the spirit of the game. If the initiating player doesn't get it and persists, ask them to leave politely

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I agree with everyone else about this.  The only times I have had issues with PVP, it was entirely based on a player who didn't belong at the table.  95% of my players understood that they are supposed to work as a team, unless they plan otherwise.  When the PVP occurred, it was either entirely RP driven (and somewhat consensual), ended very badly for everyone involved, and/or ended up being the end of a player playing at my table.  

I think I can only remember 3 incidents (all in other systems).  One, the player was disliked by everyone, and the party fought itself over who got to kill him.  He was invited to not return to that game.  Two, a player felt he was being upstaged by another player, and tried to shoot it out in the middle of a Mexican Standoff.  That did not turn out well for anyone, and was obvious what was going to happen.  But he said "He Stole My Thunder!"  Beware those words.  I checked with the table, and they decided not to kick him for that.  And three, a long standing division where a couple party members made a great deal of trouble by having secret plans (with good intentions) that turned out terribly (such as starting multiple wars, wrecking a city, etc).  When said plans were discovered, the PC's (who were aware of what was happening OOC, and largely thought it was funny) killed the secretive ones.  Partly this was done because the game was ending anyway, and the players were leaving the group for good.

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