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I play a WFRP 2e campaign with 4 friends. One of the players is my girlfriend and I am just another player not the GM. Our group consists of 4 humans and 1 halfling. Let's call the halfling player 'Bob'.

One week ago we were playing and following a trail to a stolen artifact of ours. Bob's character sat down with two thugs who knew something about the whereabouts of said artifact and after several beers with him they revealed the name of the thief. We immediately wanted to go after the thief but Bob said he was too drunk and went to the inn to sleep. The rest of us decided to follow the trail and we ultimately got the artifact back. When we went back to the inn where Bob was still sleeping. I wanted to play a little trick on Bob's character and so I drew a fake moustache on his face (I had to make an Agi check that succeeded). My GF wanted to top that and began to remove his pants, but after a failed check, Bob's character woke up.

Bob was really pissed off (both IC and OOC), packed his things and went back to the two thugs he met earlier. He told them to mug us and specifically my GF's character. When the thugs asked what we looked like he described my GF's character as 'someone who always wants to undress herself but shouldn't because she doesn't look good enough' (Backstory: We once distracted a guard with my GF's naked character and it has become sort of a running gag).

This was when my GF snapped. She told him that this was a really low blow and that he should at least apologize.

Bob said that he meant her in-game character and that it's her problem if she applies this to her real self. He also complained about constant picking on him, especially from my GF.

I did not know what to say because on one hand it was really childish of my GF to make such a move and on the other hand what he said was really low.

As it was late already we ended the session.

Ultimately it would be the GM's task to solve this situation but he just let it play out without any interference. He recently suffered a burn-out and I can understand that he doesn't want to stress himself out over this topic.

Our next session is in 1 week and I am in a bit of conflict about how to handle this situation. I can partly understand both sides but both insist that their point of view is right.

We’ve all known each other for more than 10 years, except my GF. She met them through me, so she knows all of them for ~1 year.

We pick a bit on each other but usually only to a point where it is fun for all of us. E.g. Another player was transformed into a mutant and had to hide his face. We constantly joked about exposing him but we never did it and it was fun for all of us.

We are all between 25-30 years.

So my questions:

  • Are IC statements really not meant to be taken personally?
  • Can I do something to fix this or do we need the GM?
  • How can this conflict be resolved peacefully?

Thank you for your answers! I marked hellsaint's answer as the correct one but I also liked the other. We are usually not a PVP group and I think it is better this way. Especially as I think that both, Bob and my girlfriend, can't separate IC interactions from OOC interactions. I will try to initiate a session 0 with the group and I will suggest to retcon the situation as I it won't do any good if we follow this path. I will keep you updated on how it went.


Update:

We had to make a longer break because our GM was ill but last Saturday we had our next session. The break allowed us all to cool down. As we were about to start I brought up how we would deal with the situation of last time. I think both my GF and Bob were a ashamed because of what had happened and did not really want to talk about it. In order to keep the awkwardness low, both apologized to each other and we said that we would refrain from picking on each other especially any kind of stealing or removing things from other characters.

In the session we all were very careful to keep the tone respectful but we still had a lot of fun. All in all I think that we learned a lesson from this. I hope it stays this way. Thank you all again for your advice

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  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pryftan See this FAQ for why your comments were removed. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 6 '18 at 2:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 6 '18 at 2:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Pryftan If it wasn’t an answer—and it looked like one—then see “Secondary Discussion” in the Help page about what comments are not for. Either way, comments have a specific purpose (see same Help article) and other uses of them are removed. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 6 '18 at 22:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pryftan Please re-read the FAQ you were linked to and the Help page as well. If you have further to say after that, please use Role-playing Games Meta. As for why I am using comments for moderation instruction, contrary to your understanding of the Help page, it’s 1) saving contacting you via permanent messages attached to your moderation history, and 2) because conveying what not to do publicly prevents others from making the same mistake, thereby multiplying the reach of moderation—something that the community discussed and encouraged. We operate as exceptions to a number of rules when it improves the site. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Jun 7 '18 at 20:49
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A reminder that is true for absolutely every TTRPG I've ever seen, and the title of my answer:

The main goal is for everyone to have fun. Period.

Now, to your problem:

For every question you've asked (which are related), it depends on the people involved. We also have two problems, one IC and one OOC. I will split the answer for each one. The actual solution is given in the "Have a Session 0" section, if you want to skip to the action.

Out of character problem

This one is a bit more serious. As any other social conflict, you don't need the DM to solve it. Yes, he might help since it's an RPG group, but ultimately you can solve it as any other social problem: talk about it, preferably apologize and forgive, and move on.

I hope the "peacefully" part from your question is for the IC problem, as I don't think anything you described should lead to physical, actual violence.

Have a Session 0 and make a (more formal) social contract

The main problem here seems that people aren't on the same page. I assume you and your GF made the jokes on Bob's character as an in-game joke. He, on the other hand, got personally offended, as for why I can only guess.

What strikes me as odd is that your GF got mad afterhand when Bob made something IC and she also thought it was a personal insult, so I'm not sure if her "bully" was also personal or just IC. Ignoring these doubts, my solution is, step by step:

  1. Group everyone.
  2. Discuss how you will be handling PvP in-game content. If someone tries to steal your PC, kill your PC, or even just bully your character, how are you (everyone) going to handle and react? Depending on these answers, you should know if you should be doing these things or not. Remember, the goal is for everyone to have fun. If someone is getting insulted, angry or sad, they are not having fun, and whoever is causing it should stop.
  3. Fun means different things for different people. If the expectations can't align, it's better to split the group. No gaming is better than bad gaming. There are people that only have fun killing other PCs, and there are people that only have fun not being killed by other PCs. These two players can't play together.
  4. If, on a brighter side, you can align your expectations, now you know how you (again, when I mean you, I mean the whole party) should behave. You know who's gonna get offended personally for what. Avoid behaviours that make the game less fun for other people. That's all.

As a side note on Point 2, I would be clear: In game actions are in game actions. If my character flirts with yours, I'm not showing romantic interest/attraction for you IRL. If my character punches yours, I'm not showing hate for you IRL. - unless you are, but then you are communicating your feelings in a seriously bad way.

TL;DR: Talk about it.

In character problem

Here, we have two options. The first option is: you don't have a problem. The second option is: the social contract was broken. So, it depends on what your party has agreed upon when you guys started playing, or in the Session 0 I've just suggested you to do.

If you agreed that your characters would be nice to each other, then everyone broke the social contract. Period. That's a role-playing problem. Otherwise, there's no problem at all. RPGs are filled with PvP betrayals and stealing. Don't end a friendship over a game.

So, answering your first bullet: Usually no, IC statements shouldn't be taken personally, BUT, that implies the person making them was actually role-playing, and not just using it as an excuse to offend the other player. We don't know Bob aside from what you told us, so we can't know if he meant it as a offense or not.

About your third bullet: Do you have to? As I mentioned, PvP is a normal thing in RPGs. From the little I know from Warhammer, it's normal there too.

If your social contract is broken (i.e. if the campaign is supposed to be about a friendly party), ask your DM to Retcon it.


Additional Tool

@Boulash has added in a comment an interesting link to Safety Tools. This can be used to indicate when a character behaviour or plot is personally causing discomfort in a player, without having to stop the game for that. In your scenario, it could be used to indicate, by Bob, that you and your GF were acting in ways that were making him feel bad, and by your GF to indicate that Bob's behaviour also caused discomfort. Bob's actions were more "instant", though (from your description), so I'm not sure there would be time for that in your scenario.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'll add that you can also use in-game tools to show unease without having to go ooc. Phil Vecchione made a nice piece about it : gnomestew.com/game-mastering/gming-advice/… \$\endgroup\$ – Boulash Jun 5 '18 at 8:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ As a comment, this reddit guide for 5e Session 0 is very good. In particular, the sections "Player, Behavior, Game Behavior & DM Expectations" and "Ethic Concerns & Topics" are system-agonistic (and handle common triggers). Most of other things can be translated for other systems, but I would focus on the two I've mentioned. \$\endgroup\$ – HellSaint Jun 5 '18 at 8:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ Fun fact. Session 0 doesn't need to be the first one. It is always not late to have one session zero. \$\endgroup\$ – Mindwin Jun 5 '18 at 16:57
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Everyone is at fault for breaking Wheaton's Law. Be the adult in the room, apologize, and move on.

I would ask the GM to reset the game to a point where your two characters return to the inn. Leaving the rest as a bad dream. Alternatively, were I the GM, after the reset I would still leave it that all the characters remember the other altercation. What caused it? What evil forces are at work here? This way, the whole nasty incident is woven into the plot in such a way as to bind the party together against an external threat.

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HellSaint's answer is already very good and covers the general case very well, but I wonder if there are a few things particular to your situation.

You mentioned that "As it was late already we ended the session.". It could be that everyone involved was pretty tired and a bit short tempered. It might be enough to just admit to the group that you were pretty tired at the end of the last session and apologise for your childish behaviour (your behaviour - don't apologise for anyone else, let them do that, though don't expect or require that apology).

You don't go into much detail about retrieving the artifact, but depending on the group I can see Bob potentially getting annoyed if his character does a bunch of legwork to find out where it is and then gets abandoned by the rest of the group and has to sit out of the game. I'm not familiar with how alcohol works in WFRP, but if it has penalties I can see why he might want to wait until the next day. Drawing on his character's face and trying to steal his pants probably just added insult to injury.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Rather than give my insights in my own answer … because it seems like: (1) Bob took the IC pranks personally; (2) CKA's GF noticed that he did, (3) and Bob's retribution was thusly perceived as dual–purpose by CKA's GF. Why Bob took it personally — when he apparently is not averse to pranks, — depends on how he interacts OOC with CKA's GF in the confines of both the RPG group and with CKA particularly. In consideration of that, someone — not CKA — needs to ensure that this was an exception to how Bob knows he should respond when he's unhappy with either the game or the group. \$\endgroup\$ – can-ned_food Jun 6 '18 at 0:36

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