Hey guys. New(er) to the pnp game. We have a campaign that we just started and are still at level one so we are pretty fresh into the campaign.
We are meeting tomorrow and one of the players gave me a piece of paper today with a dialogue they want me to read out loud tomorrow at some point in the game. It is basically the voice of his characters master ordering him to attack one of the other players because of blah blah blah. I like the idea and it was well done but I am not sure that I as the DM want to start taking sheets of dialogue that players want read during our campaings. I think it opening a can of worms and might take away from the flow of the game.
How would you guys handle it? I was thinking if he wants it read he could do it himself thus limiting the amount of times players will do this. If they know they have to read it themselves, in character, it may keep them from making it a regular thing.
I was also thinking he could just take the action he wants without having anything read and when the other players react to his actions it will start a totally random event. He can then explain in his own words what happened and why he did.
I really need some feedback here because as the DM I want to keep it fun for the players but I also don't want the players literally controlling the flow of the game. Does that make sense? I am totally new the DM experience and the pnp game in general. HELP PLEASE!
player vs player dynamics, especially so early in a campaign can really harm a table. The way the player is presenting this to you is also kind of off-putting because if you do as he asks, you would be basically aiding the player to justify attacking the other. You should be careful of this because right now you're trying to build trust at the table. Personally I wouldn't do this for that reason alone. But if you need more reasons, ask yourself what the reaction of the targeted player will be ? If anything maybe asking that player for permission to go forward with this would be appropriate, since we're talking about one player attacking the other. Player driven plots are fine but not if they involve causing other players at the table grief, and that's what this sounds like it could become / cause.
The fact that it involves attacking another PC should set off alarm bells. It sounds like he's setting up an in-game, in-character reason for inter-party violence. That's what I'd be concerned about here.
Discuss this with the group as a whole. If it's about fighting another PC, make sure the other player is on board with it, and I recommend not using dice, but allowing the target of any attacks to narrate the outcome. If both people are into it, then it will be a cool scene, if one person isn't into it, then that person can describe the attacker making ineffective attacks for whatever reason.
Apart from what I'm assuming is the underlying issue, I don't see any real issue with this. The player is engaging with the game world, and taking some narrative control. Some really cool stuff could come out of an approach like this.
If it were me, I would not read the paper. If you do read the paper, it follows that the person who handed it to you will attack the other player. Then the other player will likely get upset and the person who handed you the paper has an out to put part of the blame on you since you, as the DM, had an NPC tell him to do it. This would drag you into the middle of a sticky situation. If he wants to attack the other person, then he can later tell them that he heard the voice. On a side note, I don't allow players to attack each other in my games. It's just asking for trouble, hurt feelings, and the creation of characters designed to get revenge and kill the other persons character.
The other posters have said everything that needs to be said. Don't do it.
Turn it into an encounter but instead of the master ordering the player to attack another have the master initiate a fight, the Master against all the players - it can be a training exercise or test they must pass for the master to declare them ready to adventure out.
This way you can turn it into a bonding of the party rather than a divide that may happen with PC v PC. A test of their teamwork, force them to have to accomplish a goal that takes all of them cooperating to do. If they fail the Master scolds them for their unfocused and self-serving actions, and orders them to undertake a demeaning task as the next adventure rather than the cool, glory (& treasure) filled one.
I do not accept PC v PC in my games, if there is controvercy then it must be resolved in character without the roll of the dice (except for maybe any skill rolls they might be making). D&D and especially the party mentaility of 4E make this a cooperative game and unless the PC conflict is story based and fun then there is no place for it.
Have to agree with others on this one, all PvP does is bring trouble. All I can add is talk to the PC thats suppose to get killed/attack and see if he is cool with such. In my group any PvP must be agreed to by both players before it even starts and it seems to work, sometimes the players enjoy the challange.
I think the op has to provide some details on what expectations of the game were going in. If everyone knew it was a free for all going in that would be different than if it was expressly a cooperative game. A good many games start with no in depth discussion about the parameters of the game.
It would certainly be a blindside for the unsuspecting player to not only be attacked by another character but have the apparent endorsement of the dm.
Thanks everyone for your input. I advised said player that he would have to take action on his own and that I would not read the letter. He went forward and attacked the other player (his daughter, due to the fact that she is a rogue and stealthly took gold from his back-pack). After the attack the Warlock (attacking character) jumped into the forest off the trail where the party had just encountered a group of Hyenas. The rest of the party moved forward and I decided as the DM to drop a few extra Hyenas on the trail forcing the Warlock to travel through the forest to catch up with the rest of the party. After all was said and done no real harm was done. The attacking player wanted us all to know a bit about his background and that he answers to a Master. He has stated that it will not be a regular thing but wants to bring his Master into the game play on occassion. Also that since we were early into the campaign he wants the other characters to be questioning their trust in him. I think it will all work out in the end and no harm was done. He also knows now that as the DM I will bring in repurcussions (the additional Hyenas) if attacking the team becomes common.
To clarify: Is the thief the warlock's daughter? Or is the thief's player the warlock player's daughter?
Not that either option is terribly grand... But there's something going on there that probably doesn't involve the game, in at least one context. I mean, if I settled all my family issues in PvP, well... Wouldn't be much family left standing.
PvP at an RPG table can be difficult to manage. However is that the player’s intention here? Perhaps he just wants an excuse to leave his master. I personally really like it when the PC's start adding to the game so I try to encourage that sort of thing. In your position I would get together with both players concerned before the game and figure out what is intended by this encounter. This takes away much of the improv value of the scenario but will allow you to safely implement the player created content into the game.
I actually communicated mvincent's comments above to the party member in question and will relay the same information to the rest of the party at our next session. You cannot attack another player unless that player agrees it is ok. Makes it very simple going forward. This way the player getting attacked can make their decision based on how it might effect the game going forward. Maybe they will see the benefit to allowing the attack to place, maybe they won't. I like the official rule.
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