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So, following a previous question about dealing with love interests in a 1-on-1 game this has been brought into our current game.

It was one thing to have it in our one-on-one game, but now we have 2 other players, and a new DM (I am now one of the players), and this relationship between our PCs has continued. This has gone on for some time, and I have responded to it in several ways - anywhere from ignoring it (depending on the situation, the focus might need to be elsewhere so the "hint" goes overlooked); to entertaining it for a few good minutes, up to 20 minutes of roleplay.

The thing is that the player really does get drawn in to the roleplay aspect of the game in general - she has developed a connection with all of the PCs, and spends a lot of effort on her roleplay. That much we all enjoy. It really makes for a captivating experience. Obviously though, the downside is that whenever the love-interest comes into play, everyone basically has to sit back and watch, until someone (either myself or someone else) jams a wedge into the middle of it to get the game moving again.

I know that I should probably talk to the player about this, but I'm not sure how to approach the topic. It is tied in with her RP, which in general is not a problem (as stated above, is actually the opposite). And I don't know if I should talk to just them, or if I should approach the DM at the same time?

For clarification, this "love interest" is only between the PCs. The players (she and I) do not have a romantic relationship outside of the game.

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If you are not in a relationship, this is not an RPG issue, it's a relationship issue.

Being in a relationship in-character is a heavy emotional romantic thing for many people. It seems that this woman is one of them... and she's using the IC relationship between your characters to be halfway in, halfway out. Almost-relationships of all sorts are really very tempting for people who know that they can't be together with the object of their affections (because it's a terrible idea, or the other person won't agree, or parental disapproval or whatever) and they are emotionally super-complicated and they're basically a relationship in disguise. You're not enjoying the in-between state, and she's clinging to it. You need to work this out one way or the other. The process is likely to be messy. I suggest you get some advice from the Interpersonal Skills stack first, as they're the specialists at this sort of thing. Aside from that piece of useful clue, though, your underlying issue here is out-of-scope for the RPG stack.

If you are in a relationship, take it offline.

You are in an actual relationship with a woman who apparently really likes roleplaying as a character who's in a relationship with a character you are playing. That doesn't have to be bad. It can be fun. The core RPG problem that you've described that it's distracting from play at the table. That doesn't have to be an issue, though - you're in a relationship already. Presumably you're interacting romantically at times where you're not gaming, and "your characters roleplay having a relationship" is the sort of thing that doesn't generally require DM adjudication.

So talk with her about it, presenting the issue as one of not wanting to be rude. Suggest that you take it mostly offline. When you're around the table, it's time to game in a way that everyone can be involved in. You can indulge in "couples roleplay" in your own time when no one else is waiting on you.

If it's not so much a matter of "This is interfering with the game" and more a "I don't enjoy this activity" then the issue is that you're in a relationship with someone who really enjoys a couples activity that you're not so into. At that point, it's a question for the Interpersonal Skills stack.

Alternately/Additionally, consider getting involved in some sort of LARPing scene, where two people pausing for in-character romantic interludes doesn't interfere with other ongoing stories in nearly the same way.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I do not think that we can state that the only explanation for this behavior is the player being infatuated with the OP. Different people want different things from roleplaying and Occam's razor would say that we should chalk it up to that. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Sep 21 '18 at 8:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega given that the background is "they were in an OOC relationship with an IC relationship, now the OOC relationship is over but the IC relationship persists" this is pretty clearly an "it's complicated" situation. I'm not going to say "infatuated", but it's pretty clear that some degree of actual emotional entanglement is going on. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Sep 25 '18 at 13:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Where did OP say that they were ever in an IRL relationship? I find no mention of this. \$\endgroup\$ – Szega Sep 25 '18 at 13:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Szega it was in the previous question. This is a follow-on question to that one, and the link was provided at the top. \$\endgroup\$ – Ben Barden Sep 25 '18 at 13:45
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The DM should be handling this.

Part of the DM's job is to keep the story moving forward. If the characters seem to be getting distracted, the DM needs to step in with a reminder of where the story should be going.

As a player, if you say something like "we probably shouldn't get into that right now, we should focus on the plot", that could be seen as rude. If the DM says something like that, it's expected.

I think a good first step would be to tell the DM that you understand that romantic roleplaying isn't a good experience for the table, and if it starts happening you will usually welcome an interruption.

As a DM, if two of my players seem to be getting bogged down or trying to monopolize too much of my time, one thing I often do is I'll turn to the rest of my group and I'll say: "okay, so we know what those characters are doing. What's your character up to?" Sometimes this leads to the players continuing the conversation between themselves in the background; usually they'll take the hint and stop being distracting.

Running with it for a few minutes is also fine.

In an ideal world, all the players would be engaged with the story all the time. But in my games I'm usually okay with brief roleplaying interruptions, especially if (as in your case) it's fun to watch. I recommend not feeling guilty about it for at least the first five minutes.

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It Depends on your group and game

If the other players have not yet mentioned it this might not be a problem at all. But it seems you are self conscious about it. This might be because of non-verbal clues from the DM or other players or because you yourself are not comfortable with the role-play.

Discuss it with your group

Everybody enjoys different aspects of the hobby on different levels. As you state the other player really enjoys the role play and in character interaction. This is perfectly fine and their should be room for that. But this should not cost the rest of the group their fun. The best thing you can do is talk to your group about it. It could be they actually enjoy following the relationship as a sort of soap opera. And as you state she also role plays with the other players it is just that in your case the inter character relationship is different.

This will also depend heavily on the kind of campaign you are running. If I is Kick in the door style they will probably mind quicker then when the whole campaign is Role play heavy.

Ways to reduce disruption

If you or your group conclude that you want to reduce the disruption that the role playing causes there are various ways that can be done without denying the other player her enjoyment.

  • Have the DM switch to the other characters while you are interacting. They are doing something at the same time and by switching between the players nobody has to sit still for to long.
  • Set a time limit for how long one of these scenes can last. This will mean that after a certain time the DM will ask you to finish up so the story can move on. This can be both be done by OC prompt. Or sudden dragon attack if he wants.
  • Take it off table. If you both really enjoy the interaction it might be an idea to run these role plays out side your groups regular session. Discuss this with the DM but it usually is not a problem if you two do roleplaying that has no direct hard impact on the game outside normal sessions. This can be done face to face but also through chat or voice/video call. This will allow you to have long role playing sessions with heavy character relationship development without the rest of the group having to wait.

What to do if you are not comfortable with the role play

So it could just be that everybody else is fine with this and it is just you who is not comfortable with the situation. This could just be that you 2 are hogging the spotlight. In that case check with the other players/DM when you get he feeling to make sure they do not mind at this point.

If you are not comfortable with playing role playing the relationship this is fine it is not something everybody is comfortable with this. In this case you should discuss this with the other player. She will understand and it is important that the game is a fun and enjoyable experience for everybody involved.

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Often whenever a PC for me goes off on a tangent with another party member I like to encourage the others to mess with them, from picketing the distracted players to mucking about in the background. It keeps everyone entertained and makes for many humourous situations as the PC's could try and find times they are alone only for the annoying PC's to barge in.

I hope this helps, Lorian

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