My players constantly get into arguments and verbal fights over trivial things such as how to get something or how to handle a situation and its hard to get them to just decide on something or to come to an agreement. When some players don't get their way, they just hold a grudge and this has caused at least 1 PC death.

Basically, the party was running for their lives out of a collapsing tomb and there was a ledge they had to climb up to get out. The Goliath player had the idea of carrying everyone/have them climb onto him (1 character was a gnome and another was a halfling) while they were running to have the momentum to chuck them up the ledge/have them hold onto him as he climbed up. Well, one character (a wizard) didn't want to be carried (he never gave a reason) and the players started to argue that if he didn't get carried he would die so he finally relented and let the goliath character carry him. But after they got up the ledge and out of the tomb the wizard player decided to just cast some spell I forgot (something to do with ice) on the Goliath (he said he just wanted to hurt him not kill him). So the goliath in turn knocked him out and after a while of walking back to town while carrying the wizard character's unconscious body, another character decided to just straight up shove and arrow through the Goliath's leg. The rest of the party just beat the crap out of the guy and killed him. Only later did I find out the wizard character told the guy to do it.

The players are arguing out-of-character and usually go like this "we should do x" "no that's stupid we should do y" and they each go back forth and back and forth. Out of game this also happens in our friend group but these arguments just slow down the game to a crawl. A character's death only happened once over this but I fear it may happen again. The players and I are all in our mid to late teens.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ What game are you playing? \$\endgroup\$ – Rubiksmoose Dec 28 '18 at 17:11

Welcome to RPGSE.

First thing first: identify whether this is an IC or OOC conflict

In some parties, the PCs fight but the players are having fun. In others, the IC fights are a result of OOC tension. In yet others, it's because the players genuinely don't know what makes the best gaming. Solutions depend on these parameters. Once you've identified the source of the problem, you can choose an appropriate solution. Here are some example parameters and likely (but not guaranteed) solutions for different sources of the problem:

Players have fun playing conflicts to the hilt

If all the players are happy with a cutthroat, treacherous party and are having fun, it may be the best to direct them to games that support that. For example, Paranoia is famous for having high lethality, constant backstabbing etc., and treating it with a laugh.

Players like conflict, but don't want to lose their PCs

If this is the case, consider discussing it with the whole party, and coming up with a way to reduce lethality and/or similar long-term consequences. Perhaps suggest them to play out such conflicts as fistfights, not shootouts/swordfights, and declare that damage sustained in such conflicts heals faster and cannot cause a death (this isn't realistic, and many systems don't support such distinctions, but it's a viable houserule for the sake of fun).

Players think this makes sense IC, but don't like the outcome

For example, everyone has a stubborn, grudge-holding character, and so feels that the only right way to react to not getting one's way is to avenge that disproportionately later. If so, talk it out OOC, and ask players to make character parties that are more internally friendly: a party of long-term allies who met long ago and not yesterday in a space tavern, a dynasty of loyal treasure-hunters etc. This may require either adjusting the personalities of characters, filling in details that weren't specified so far, justifying a personality change as the game goes on, or even making a whole new party.

There is a hidden or overt OOC conflict between Players

Talk it out OOC and find out more. If the two players totally hate each other, at best you can hope to enforce an ultimatum against both (or more) of them that forbids PvP . . . or exile both (or more). Or maybe there's only one problem player, in which case that's who you will have to exile sooner or later (or suffer the consequences of inaction). Or maybe there was just a misunderstanding, and clearing that up will fix your problem.

It's very important to do your best to actually collectively solve this problem. Trying to contain or hide it will just result in the bottled-up conflict surging out in greater force later. So while radical measures may seem overkill, they should still be kept on the table to prevent an even worse outcome.

This can be highly unpleasant when GMing for people all of whom you deem a friend, but the reality is that often, a GM is friends with both A and B, but A and B dislike each other and when the three come together, nobody has fun as a result of said hatred. In a milder case, it may be that A and B can get along with some topic, but burst into conflict when some other topic comes up; in that case, the latter topic should be avoided.

If the whole of RPGaming is such an unavoidably inflammable topic, well, there's not much that can be done without switching to another joint hobby. However, perhaps only some subset of gaming topics are inflammable - for example, only splitting the lot acts as a catalyst for such grudges. In that case, you can try to plan your campaign around it. If looting is the catalyst, try running a campaign where looting never comes up or is handled abstractly. If sparing or killing captives is a common topic of conflicts, then try to run a campaign where most opponents are droids, or where a commanding officer tends to sweep in after the enemies surrender and takes the decision out of the PCs' hands. If the problem comes from conflicting interests in realm management, run a more boots-on-the-ground campaign. And so on.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ I like your IC solutions, but the OOC part assumes that the GM has to take initiative solving OOC problems. I like my all of my GMs as friends, but would tell them not so kindly to mind their own business outside of the game, just like I would any other player in that game except for the one I might have problems with. \$\endgroup\$ – DonFusili Dec 28 '18 at 10:53

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.