I'm participating in a Pathfinder campaign that started with four characters:
- A, a utility mage arcanist (played by myself) that will eventually take item creation feats
- B, a tanky melee fighter that specializes in combat maneuvers
- C, a highly versatile and more offensively oriented mage
- the GMPC, a combat rogue
At a certain point in the campaign, the party composition changed drastically; the player behind C wanted to transition to a new PC, a new player wanted to join us, and the GM wanted to remove himself as a PC so that he could focus on GMing. Accordingly, C and the GMPC were "abducted" during one of the following sessions, and in the same session, A and B later came across:
- D, a social specialist skillmonkey vigilante (controlled by the new player) who was also in our dungeon to rescue their friend E
- E, an alchemist and a subrace of goblin (controlled by the player of C)
Because of the circumstances behind the current party's formation, the party is better described as "two parties of 2" than as "a party of 4" from a narrative perspective. As a marginally experienced roleplayer, I'm aware that such a circumstance holds the potential for relatively unique roleplaying experiences. However, I'm starting to see a few "yellow flags" come up regarding in-universe interactions, and not being experienced myself in roleplays that straddle the border into the player versus player territory, I'm not sure whether the things that have happened are elements to an interesting, memorable, and mutually enjoyable story or whether these things are signs of in-character party cohesion beginning to devolve (or... maybe even both?).
Near the end of last session, our party caught a glimpse of the abducted former PCs just before the entrance to the corridor they were being taken down collapsed. On our side of the collapse, our party was fighting a boss NPC that appeared to be in charge of the NPCs abducting the former PCs; accordingly, my character A called out to the party saying to take the boss alive. The combat ended with the boss unconscious; E then performed a coup-de-grace on the unconscious boss (shrugging off A's sad attempt at a grapple to do so). With the boss's death came that of A's (in character) hope of information relating to the rescue of the former PCs (out of character, I of course know that the former PCs in question were intentionally written out of the campaign).
Separately, D has been using a variety of skill checks to find and pocket most of the dungeon loot before the rest of the party has a chance to realize it exists. This has resulted in D acquiring most of the party's wealth-by-level since their introduction, and it has also resulted in a portion of our party's magical loot being left unidentified (since my character A is the only party member with detect magic at the moment). In character, my character A has circumstantial but not conclusive evidence of one of these looting sessions (specifically, A focused a Detect Magic on the aforementioned boss corpse while D looted it using sleight of hand, and while A's perception didn't overcome D's stealth, A was able to observe the suspiciously timed disappearance/dissipation of magical auras).
My questions regarding the party situation are these:
What are the signs that in-universe conflict such as that described above has become problematic enough to the campaign to warrant OOC rather than IC resolution?
What are some suitable responses for my PC to do in universe in this kind of situation? Currently, I plan on having my PC deprioritize assisting E in a dire situation as a tit-for-tat for obstructing the pursuit of former party members; I also plan on having my PC conceal acquired loot from the party, and revealing the existence and nature of such to B later in private. Are these behaviors appropriate? Should I aim to push the envelope of intercharacter conflict more or less?
To what extent, if any, should the DM intervene here? At present, the party has only very recently emerged from a multi-session dungeon foray, so none of the party members have had a chance to, among other things, sell off any loot.