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In our game we have 5 players. 3 characters are in the Lawful/Good, Good/Neutral area, and the other two are in the Chaotic/Neutral, Neutral/Evil area. The DM has lately been playing on the temptations of these two characters, which I can foresee ending up either two ways - the party splits, or they turn on each other.

On the other hand, this is also affecting the players a bit as well. As one of the Good characters, I don't want to see either of those outcomes occurring. The other two good players seem to follow this as well, and I feel like it will affect party morale.

Is there some way we can manage this? In-character, the two evil characters are dealing with underhanded, shady dealings, which the good characters know nothing about. Out-of-character, We can all see this turning ugly, but the two Chaotic/Evil players are having fun (getting to role play a bit better).

What can I/we do to prevent any of these outcomes? I don't want to destroy the party, or the group, and while I might be able to talk to the DM about the future, I don't want to spoil future events.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Probably related to What is “my guy syndrome” and how do I handle it? \$\endgroup\$ – Eregrith Apr 28 '15 at 8:41
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Eregrith although related as an issue, it doesn't sound like the situation described is necessarily seeing that problem (yet) \$\endgroup\$ – Wibbs Apr 28 '15 at 9:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ Did your group talk beforehand about interactions between characters? If some of the players made evil characters, then everyone should have been expecting this, but it doesn't sound like the good characters' players were. \$\endgroup\$ – DCShannon Apr 28 '15 at 21:53
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There is nothing inherently wrong with this situation, and it doesn't have to mean that the group of PCs are bound to split at some point because of the clashing alignments. However, allowing such a group of PCs means there are responsibilities on the GM and each of you as players to make this work, and all of the players at the table need to be comfortable with this style of play. From your question it sounds like you might not be, but that doesn't necessarily mean there is a big problem here.

Trust and work with your GM

You don't mention how experienced your GM is. They may know exactly what they are doing and you have nothing to worry about. It sounds like your GM is comfortable with the idea of having a group of PCs with sometimes conflicting motives. The mix of alignments that make up the party pretty much guarantee that inter-PC conflicts are going to happen, and in order for these to mean anything in practice, the GM has to use and play on them to some extent or another.

The responsibilities of the players in these situations

When inter-PC conflict such as this comes up, it is everyones responsibilities to try to ensure there is good reason for the group of PCs to continue working together. So while the GM is playing on the temptations of the PCs with clashing alignments, it is everyone in the groups responsibility to work with whatever comes out of any resulting conflict in a constructive way, creating reasons for the group to stay together.

Out of character conversations can be really important

With this kind of thing it can be really important that everyone is on board with whatever is happening to the PCs. With a group of players who are used to playing together this tends to happen more naturally, as they are used to each others play styles and can often predict how each other are going to react. With a new group of players this is more difficult, and can necessitate a lot more out of character conversation to work through potentially tricky situations in such a way as to ensure that all players are comfortable with the way character development and the story are heading.

It might be worth having a conversation to make sure all players are on board with this type of play

From your description of the situation it sounds like the GM might have missed an important step during the initial sessions in the game. As I've already mentioned, this type of mix of PCs is almost guaranteed to lead to a certain style of campaign if the PCs' alignments are going to mean anything in play, and some players simply don't enjoy that style. What should have happened is that a conversation about this was had to make sure everyone was happy with the idea. If this didn't happen, there is nothing wrong with pausing the game to do so now, as it is entirely possible for (often quite subtle) changes to be made so that the style of gameplay is enjoyed by everyone at the table.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Definitely agree with the players' being responsible for coming together to justify the characters' continued cooperation. The goal is for everyone to have fun, don't let adherence to "Alignments" ruin that. \$\endgroup\$ – sillyputty Apr 28 '15 at 17:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ It sounds like the OP thinks the players are already doing this but the GM wants to pit them against eachother. \$\endgroup\$ – the dark wanderer Apr 28 '15 at 18:34
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There's Nothing Wrong With That

We like to call that "good GMing." Inter-character drama is a major part of oh say every TV show ever. This is a pretty stock attempt to spur roleplaying and interesting story elements. A lot of my campaigns build to a head in this way - "Can the PCs defeat an opponent of CR+4!?!" is kind of a less interesting climax than "Will the other PCs sacrifice the party cleric to the Elder Gods stop the destruction of the city?" There are two potential downsides however.

What if the characters split up?

Well, depending on the type of game that's not necessarily bad. It depends on whether the characters and their emerging story are more important to the campaign, or whether whatever Grand Fantasy Plot (tm) is more important to the campaign. Maybe the DM is challenging the characters in a non-CR-ey way to overcome this and rally and get out there and kill more orcs; maybe this IS the path to the real "boss fight" and it's between y'all. You need to figure out what kind of game you're playing and its actual goal, and then roleplay out either attempting to overcome the divisions or going with it.

What if the players get angry at each other?

Mature roleplayers will routinely have inter-character conflict without the players having to be all personally offended about it. However, not all roleplayers are mature, and it sounds like your GM might be assuming you all are and is just going ahead without checking (or he's just trying something new himself). There's no shame in being new to it; the best thing to do is ask the GM this question and say "This is new to me and I'm worried that we'll have hard feelings with each other..." and give them the opportunity to talk to you about "hey, what happens IC stays IC, we love you man..." Since clearly the group isn't all on the same page about expectations around PvP and metagaming, it's worth discussing it with them - no "spoilers" should be required. Talking points should include...

"Hey it seems like we have very different PCs with different alignments and motivations."

  1. How much PvP is expected in this game - is it OK for us to argue, to split up, to attack each other?
  2. Is dissent a challenge for us to overcome to achieve "the real plot" or is the plot a malleable backdrop for the character interaction?
  3. How do you want us to overcome the dissent - metagaming (setting limits OOC), have an OOC goal of cooperation that we figure out how to accomplish IC, just roleplay "my guy" and if the GM wants us to get on with the plot he'll railroad us, or...?
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    \$\begingroup\$ I keep thinking "why bother with alignment if it won't mean anything?" The players chose conflicting alignments, and the GM made it meaningful. \$\endgroup\$ – Adriano Varoli Piazza Apr 28 '15 at 12:43
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It is time to go meta and talk to your friends.

Be mature by highlighting the problems (aka: the party splits, or they turn on each other) and looking for a solution that will make everyone happy. Make sure you do not end up accusing the other players of ruining the game or that they are ruining your fun on purpose. What drives them to play "evil" characters is as important as what drives you to play "good" ones.

Personally, I would try to find a out-of-game solution and make it into a story element within the game: Have both have the "good" and "evil" characters shift into more neutral alignment. This can be part of the characters journey during the game. Of course, you could play it as a redemption of the evil characters that end up being good in the end. Or as a tragedy, where the good guys become jaded and turn to evil.

You all might enjoy the challenge of not splitting the party and having the in-game arguments between the characters: let each side try to convince the other that they are right. Of course, this needs a meta game agreement that no one will jeopardise the game. To be honest, this never works in my not so humble opinion but you might get it work.

Finally, if you cannot decide, maybe the split is a good thing(TM). Create two groups: one "evil", the other "good". You might even enjoy running the same game with the two groups and see what different ways the story evolves. Kinda like replaying a CRPG making "different" choices -- even if we know it always comes to three buttons at the end⸮

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  • \$\begingroup\$ (Also, the reversed ? "irony mark" doesn't render on a standard Win7/Firefox setup and should probably be replaced.) \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 28 '15 at 19:54
  • \$\begingroup\$ @SevenSidedDie: Odd, it works for me in *nix and windows using Firefox... Ah, the joys for freaking UTF-8. \$\endgroup\$ – Sardathrion Apr 29 '15 at 10:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's a font thing. A glyph needs to have wide representation among fonts to reliably render. \$\endgroup\$ – SevenSidedDie Apr 29 '15 at 14:25

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