Like any team activity, most Dungeons & Dragons campaigns will result in at least some conflict between players. Most of the time, such conflicts – like how to approach a combat encounter or whether or not to trust an NPC – can be resolved with player chat or a vote. When they cannot be solved so easily, some players want to engage in combat with each other.
Player versus player combat is a double-edged sword. It can be useful, but if used incorrectly it can really destroy the dynamics of a party. Many dungeon masters forbid it outright at their table, and for good reason. However, there are strategies DMs can use to make sure PVP goes smoothly or, in cases where it gets too personal, how to handle it.
Remember it’s just a game
The most important thing to keep in mind is that although it is an enjoyable hobby, J&D just a game at the end of the day. There will be ups and downs, but even when players disagree, the game should be fun for everyone. If the conflict between players begins to spiral out of control, it is important to remind players that actions taken in-game should not be seen as a reflection of the behavior and mannerisms of those seated at the table.
Choices made by player characters should not be taken personally, nor based on actual conflicts. If the players still can’t calm their arguments after this reminder, ask for a short break. Taking five minutes away from the table to let everyone breathe can often ease hot tempers.
Setting up a PvP battle in D&D
Sometimes players may desire to fight in the game to test their mettle. It is up to the deputy minister to decide whether he allows this, but if he does, it is important to establish a ground rule. For starters, player-to-player combat should never be lethal. Mechanics can generally stay the same, but if a player crashes, declare them stable immediately. All attacks launched after this point must be interrupted by the DM to prevent attempts to kill each other. The death of the character, although it is an integral part of J&D, must not be in the hands of another player, unless both parties have agreed to it.
If the players are highly incompatible, such as a high level Barbarian fighting a low level Bard, it may be imperative to use a different means of combat than the norm. Instead of making attack rolls and spell rolls, consider pitting them against each other using skill checks appropriate to their level. For example, the bard might be required to make a DC 12 performance check as a kind of stage combat, while the barbarian might need to pass a DC 16 athletics check to hold back enough so that his ax won’t cleave the poor man. bard in two. .
With formats like these, the proven fence system can be used. Players have a set number of points to receive by scoring a hit on the opponent, but no damage is really meant to be done. Once a player has reached a certain number of points, they win the fight and the fight is over.
What if PvP combat doesn’t resolve the conflict?
Unfortunately, not all players accept a loss in PvP combat. Sometimes the winner can use it as an excuse to intimidate the loser. Either way, it’s the role of the DM to make sure players feel safe and welcome at their tables. If a player is too stubborn, remind them that the decision has been made and they are delaying the game.
If combat was used to settle a course of action, such as which direction to go down a tunnel, leave the choice to the player who lost. Nothing prevents them from leaving the party on their own. While splitting the party is never ideal, there are lessons to be learned from it. Actions naturally have consequences, and it’s okay to let players deal with them. If these actions result in the death of a player character, so be it. A DM can give as many warnings as needed before it becomes the player’s choice whether or not to heed the advice.
If the problem continues to escalate, unfortunately it may be necessary to ask a player to leave the table. This should never be a Dungeon Master‘s first option – only use it if the issues get so big they start to impact real-life relationships or make other party members feel uncomfortable. This should be a last resort, even if the DM is only asking the person to leave for that particular session.
Whatever the outcome of these conflicts, it’s best to keep in mind that a Dungeon Master’s first priority is the game and the party as a whole. Small conflicts will inevitably arise between players. When this happens, be prepared. Players look to their DMs to settle the table if things get too unruly. It’s a role that needs to be taken seriously, and using these methods will help keep the group happy, safe, and cohesive, even when there’s conflict.
KEEP READING: Why Blades in the Dark is Perfect for D&D Groups Who Want to Play Evil
Star Wars reveals why Jedi, Sith and bounty hunters kill
About the Author