[True/False] There is a point in every campaign when the PCs come to blows.

[True/False] There is a point in every campaign when the PCs come to blows.

  • True.

    Votes: 64 22.5%
  • False.

    Votes: 220 77.5%


Moderator Emeritus
This is a very simple poll. True or False: There is a point in every campaign when the PCs come to blows.

I am not asking if this is true for every campaign played by everyone everywhere (we could never know and I am sure there are folks out there where this is not true for them), but rather your own games.

In my own games there is always at least one time (but often a handful) where the PCs end up in conflict with each other and it comes to blows - typically it is non-lethal blows/ restraining magic - but it does happen - typically over moral disagreements regarding the handling of some issue, occasionally as a result of noble motives (like the time the dwarf in the party decided he did not want to risk the lives of his friends and tried to leave the group with an artifact that needed to be destroyed and everyone thinking his will had been taken over by the object wrestled him to the ground to take it away). On other occasions, PCs have ended up competing against each other in footlists, jousts and archery tournaments, and of course there is always the case of people being charmed/dominated.

In my own experience, these fights have not led to out-of-game bitterness or PvP murder because they have always had a good in-game reason/motivation for happening - and many times they have actually led to group bonding. In fact, I often look forward to these (as long as they don't happen too often) as typically they arise from cool character-motivated RP moments.

In one game I played in the party bard never gave the party wizard any respect and they ended up in a drunken brawl in the street and the rest of the part fought over whether or not to let them hash it out - the cool part was even though the wizard got his ass handed to him in the fist fight, the bard began to show him respect afterwards for standing up for himself.

In my current "Second Son of a Second Son" campaign, there have been two fistfights with the party wizard (he lost both fights) because he is such a mouthy insulting jerk, and then another big scrum when there was a disagreement over the use of holy relic to heal the party.

Is this something that happens in your games? How has it worked out for you? Is it something you look forward to? Poll to follow.

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I've found it tends to decrease over time the longer a particular group is together (and then, for some groups, increases once 'familiarity breeds contempt :D ). As a group ages, it tends to weed out the purely anti-social players who thrive on aspects of intra-party conflict. There's an incentive to avoid in-game actions that cause out-of-game problems for groups where people are often friends outside of the game. And at a certain point, when everyone is really comfortable with each other, some of the faux-aggressive behavior common in social relationships (especially among guys) may start to manifest in game.

Doug McCrae

Happens often in our games. One of our DMs in particular loved the charmed/dominated bit. And my last campaign ended in a TPK caused by an umber hulk's confusion.

In our group the intra-party fights always seem to increase tension rather than defuse it. The powergaming war between the PCs which was previously fought indirectly - who can do the most damage or otherwise contribute the most to victory - now becomes a direct and thus nastier contest.
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I can't think of any time characters in one of my campaigns intentionally came to blows. There were certainly some heated arguments, but the only times one PC struck another PC that I remember either involved critical fumbles or charm spells.

I think the closest I've ever come in one of my campaigns to an PC brawl was when the Thri-Kreen started to eat a dead foe of an intelligent race and the Lawful Good human fighter in the group flipped his lid over it. The arguing really got out of hand to the point where it was no longer PCs arguing with PCs, but players arguing with players and I had to intervene.

In one campaign I was running, though, there was a situation forming where one of the PCs was plotting to sacrifice one of the party members to an evil artifact that he'd accidentally been bonded to but unfortunately that campaign was derailed by real life scheduling issues.


First Post
I encourage internal conflicts and reward them. But conflict must be relevant and limited to the story and the PC classes' backgrounds. Everyone gets a reward out of such internal conflicts and the "loser" gets even more than the "winner". It is strange but it works :)

Kid Charlemagne

I am the Very Model of a Modern Moderator
If you include moments where PC's are charmed/confused, then absolutely, in pretty much every long-running campaign it happens. Not in most other case, however; we've generally tried to avoid inter-party strife.


First Post
In my experience, it doesn't happen most of the time - but it crops up often enough.

In fact (like Batman ;)) I almost always end up having contingency plans for how best to take down all the other party members. You never know when they'll get mind-controlled, after all. (that, and it's a fun mental exercise)


First Post
I've only had this happen via an Umber Hulk's confusion, but there's a little more to the story than that.

I'm currently playing an Elan Psion who is rather obsessed with becoming a legend. Part of this, of course, involves her being an immortal aberration. She has to hide her immortal nature from the rest of the party, especially the ranger, because he doesn't look too kindly upon the concept of undying freaks.

A few sessions ago the Binder in the party made a pact with the first elan who then became a vestige but failed the roll to control the vestige. I made a Knowlege Psionics check and couldn't help but notice who it was the Binder had merged with.

Seeing this, she comes up to me and starts asking lot of questions about elans and immortality, trying to figure out what I know because of my experience with psionics. My psion is made very uncomfortable by this whole conversation and tries to aovid the binder from that point forward. This was the first unhappy happening for these two characters. The second came some time later.


Flash forward, and we are battling monsters in an abandoned dwarf stronghold. Out pops an Umber Hulk, who promptly confuses the Binder. We try our best to get the Binder away from the Umber Hulk, and after we're successful, the Binder - still confused - attacks my psionic crystal. Seething with anger, I begin to wallop the Binder with my quarterstaff to little effect. After dispatching the Umber Hulk the rest of the party wades in and manages to subdue the Binder until her confusion wears off.

Everyone told me not to blame the Binder because she was obviously under some sort of mental distress, but I refuse to acknowledge this. Being a psion and an elan, I understand perfect control of mind and body, and I believe there is no excuse for losing that control (read: failing saving throws).

So now my character has two reasons to dislike one of the other PCs, and it's led to some pretty interesting roleplaying situations. So far, the animosity does not extend beyond the characters in game.


True & False.

I've learned, sometimes the hard way, that some of my friends that I have run with & for have disturbing misconceptions about morals, anti-heroes, and world views, often contrary to their stated character concept, or the agreed upon tone of the run.

That has often caused more conflicts with less relevance to the run as a whole.

On the other hand, several of my players strength of concept/ability to play varying moral and ethical perspectives in a group has led to some of the best "moral" roleplaying I've ever seen. However, the "heated discussion" is usually as far as it went among my players when they were playing their characters.

Coming to blows, unfortunately, was usually restricted to one or two individuals who possessed a self aggrandizing interpretation of the alignment system and a use of metagame/system mechanics knowledge to justify stabbing supposed friends in a fit of pique as perfectly acceptable.

So, I've found in my runs that frequently the Players come to "verbal blows" when really into their characters, and physical blows (with the exception of charm/confusion/domination) tended to be relegated to folks who had a hard time comprehending the division between game mechanics and role-playing their characters.

Suffice to say, I've become a bit more choosy about players in my old age.


First Post
When I ran a 3rd ed game for some friends in college every game session was a fight between the Human Samurai and the Halfling Rogue. Every session they would find something to fight about, and then during the week when we were on campus just hanging out the Samurai would take the antagonism of the Rogue from the previous game session personally. That was a frustrating game at times.

Dog Moon

Definitely false. Sometimes we disagree, but it doesn't happen very often when the party actually starts fighting with itself. Occasionally, in a joking manner, I'll be like 'oh no you didn' and I'll make an attack roll, but my character never actually deals him any damage.


I wouldn't say it happens in every campaign, although it's not unknown for someone to need restraining after an unsuccesful save against various enchantment spells. My group has been pretty stable for several years now though and in my experience it's mostly younger players (we've got one teenager, and 6 30/40-somethings) and in groups that have not been together long.

Here's one little story though. I was in one group back when I was at university where there were a couple of players who had an argument before the game session about something. During it one of the players cast a fireball that affected the other players fighter. And then the players started to argue, and the fighter attacked the wizard. Which was followed by the two players coming to blows, and getting separated by the rest of us. That was two people I never played with again.


Moderator Emeritus
Just to be clear about my own experiences that inspired this thread have never been about personal issues between players and have rarely been lethal combat (usually fistfights/grappling).

Also everyone in my group is in their 30s/40s, except one. .. uh, what? 28 year old. So it is not a matter of age - it has always arisen from in-game circumstances.


Prismatic Programmer
Not every campaign. I haven't seen any PC-on-PC violence in any of the campaigns I've had with my current group. One of those went straight through for 20 levels, and aside from a few dominate incidents, the worst we had was a few in-character arguments.

Some of it might be because we're relative oldsters who have been playing for years. Most of us have had bad experiences with intraparty conflict in past games, so we go out of our way to avoid it now. We tend to create characters who can mostly get along together, and if one PC is going to take an action the others disagree with, he'll contrive to do it when nobody's looking.

I admit that on rare occasions this involves serious metagaming, like when the player of a very straitlaced PC avoided putting ranks in Sense Motive, to make it easier for the less ethical PCs to fool his character. But that's really an exceptional case. In practice, all the PCs tend to have similar goals and motives, so conflict simply doesn't occur.

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