In the Season 3 Episode 20 of Rho Pi Gamma, they talk about Player vs. Player conflict. In most games when a conflict arises between two player characters the Gm, and probably the players, will call for a time out before the in-game conflict results in attacks from the opposing characters. You'll find PvP in many MMOs, but when it comes to the gaming table, often times PvP is discouraged.
It breaks down the group's cohesion and can possibly bring about the end of that particular game. Unless it's a one shot game, PvP has not shown it's ugly head in any game I've been in. However there was one instance in which I was the receiving end of one such encounter.
It was during a one-shot game of Gundam. There was no real system for the players, the GM was the only one rolling the dice. Whether the rolls actually meant anything is still a mystery, so I guess you could have called this a free-from game. Anyway. The game had been cooperative up until what was ultimately the finale of the episode. Our group was going to assault a flag ship, and my character was going to kamikaze the bridge, in hopes of bringing a swift end to the battle. Everything was going as planned until I maneuver my ship for it's final run.
Suddenly my friend, Brandon, says "I shoot at his ship." I was shocked, to say the least. Never before had this occurred in any game. An ally was actually going to kill me before I could kill "the villain". So the GM rolls his dice and I explode in a brilliant ball of fire. No way was I going to let that stand. So I spent a "fate point" to ask for a redo. The GM granted it. Brandon did his action again. Dice were rolled, and I died again. Needless to say I was a little pissed.
At that point in my gaming career I had never thought someone would pull the PvP card. Every game I'd been in, up to that point, had been PvE (player vs environment). Yet the dice and been rolled, and my character was dead. Granted he was going to die anyway, but it was supposed to be in a much more glorious way.
From what I remember, Brandon had claimed that his character's view on what my character was going to attempt was cowardly? Or somehow against some moral code? Something like that. And I guess that's all well and good, but it still came as a shock to me; and still does to this day. Why would anyone want to kill their fellow gamer's character?
As Howard said in the Rho Pi podcast, he, the character, had no other choice. You play a character a certain way. And you need to play that role the entire game, otherwise you loose the essence of "roleplaying". Playing the beliefs you've established for a given character is what makes roleplaying so much fun. To step into a different mind set and act against those who oppose those beliefs.
Other times you may have to invoke PvP to defend yourself. Should another pc want to put you in harms way, that would likely kill your character, you may choose to defend yourself. Again, taking Howard's example, another pc was going to feed Howard to the wolves, and instead Howard defended himself, thus killing the other pc.
Is it right? Sure. As long as it's justified. I have come to grips with what happened to me (as shocking as it was). Do I feel like Brandon should have acted differently, yes. But games don't get remembered for the "typical" ending. They get remembered for "epic" events such as this. However, fare warning should have been given to every player if the GM is going to allow PvP.
I've never had to deal with this as a GM, but should it ever arise, I would certainly allow it. But first I would give everyone fare warning that if a death occurs, for all parties involved to show true sportsmanship when the final die are cast and the results are given.
All I can really say to end this is, take caution when PvP arises. you don't want the in-game actions to adversely effect the out-of-game actions. For the sake of roleplaying if a PvP occurs, be sure that no hard feelings are kept. Gaming is supposed to be fun. And if FUN is ruined, then what's the purpose of gaming. Talk with your players or GM and make sure everyone walks away with a positive experience.
Until next time . . .
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