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Feelings on Player v Player in RPG's?

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Robinxen
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So after some discussion I've decided to set my Skirmish RPG in a setting which is essentially a company, for the moment dubbed AlterniTech, exploiting parallel Earth's. When I was getting a feel for the game I instantly added Alternative AlterniTech's from other Earth's doing the same thing you are.

Then it came to my attention, this is an RPG with a GM. A GM can run simultaneous campaigns for different people in the same game, this setting makes it entirely possible for those to happen literally in the same multiverse without needing to cross over. Of course the very nature of the game is that you're out to profit from others, so why not profit from the GM's other AlterniTech?

What I am asking really, do you feel that I should account for PvP, having one group literally raid another's and having them fight over control of assets?(For example there is a unique weapon in the game which due to balancing reasons can't be developed by the players BUT there is the option for a GM to make ONE available to be captured per campaign, now if two groups have captured their one but they want more, it is perfectly explainable for a group to raid the others for theirs...I'm sure the other group won't just hand it over though so the risk of casualties to undertake the operation balances out the reward)

More importantly, would you ENJOY fighting other players who are also you?

Evil ColSanders
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I'd enjoy fighting myself...

I'd enjoy fighting myself... once. The novelty wears off really fast. That's like, end of campaign shit right there. You kill or are killed be your alt selves. A truce or shakey alliance or agreed cease fire comes after. Roll credits.

Zag24
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Not a fan

I'm not a fan of PvP in an RPG, if you plan on continuing to play the same characters. It quickly devolves into winners and losers, and the losers don't want to come back to play the characters that have fallen further behind and inevitably are just going to lose again.

If you want to play a game with winners and losers, then play a board game. Once the game is finished, it's all over and you can play a new game, with everyone starting equal again. I love board games and am glad to play them. But if that's what you want to do, call it that and choose good board games; don't turn your RPG into a bad board game.

As a GM, if the player-characters are fighting each other, it's a sign that the challenges that they are facing are not tough enough. My goal is to present them with challenges that they can only complete by working together and being smart. This gives them a true feeling of camaraderie and accomplishment, which, to me, is the goal of an RPG.

Robinxen
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Zag24 wrote:I'm not a fan of

Zag24 wrote:
I'm not a fan of PvP in an RPG, if you plan on continuing to play the same characters. It quickly devolves into winners and losers, and the losers don't want to come back to play the characters that have fallen further behind and inevitably are just going to lose again.

If you want to play a game with winners and losers, then play a board game. Once the game is finished, it's all over and you can play a new game, with everyone starting equal again. I love board games and am glad to play them. But if that's what you want to do, call it that and choose good board games; don't turn your RPG into a bad board game.

As a GM, if the player-characters are fighting each other, it's a sign that the challenges that they are facing are not tough enough. My goal is to present them with challenges that they can only complete by working together and being smart. This gives them a true feeling of camaraderie and accomplishment, which, to me, is the goal of an RPG.

One important aspect of the game is that characters are actually expected to die...a lot. The character creation is streamlined so a player can replace their character well within time to hop in. Gameplay is broken into segments, it makes dropping in and out easier, if that's due to character death of player unavailability it doesn't matter.

Really this is a board game with roleplay aspects added on, a group of players isn't expected to fight amongst themselves. In fact the rules explicitly make it impossible with offensive abilities stating "target hostile". However within the lore and setting it occurred, two different groups can fight. In fact players aside, the entity the players represent have NPC equivalents that the GM could use to the same end.

Sort of like if a GM ran a wednesday and saturday group, and then one day they were both free on a friday. I found the idea of competition between two campaigns quite interesting, and I already had rules for NPC equivalents of the players to get involved when the idea of PvP began to develop.

The game itself is about loss, and recovering from it. From the offset you are in charge of an almost bankrupt company using their only remaining patent to make money. Characters are expendable entities, of course dying isn't impact free because any XP you gained will be lost. That said XP gain is limited anyway, the highest reward being 2 XP and that's for killing upwards of 7 or so enemies and the rewards from earning it are insignificant in terms of day to day. Items themselves are recoverable from a dead character with no penalty, I'd say I'd failed as a designer if the same characters who started the campaign finished it.

Centaur255
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I'm with Zag

I think even in the event that player dying is intended to happen a lot (whether that is in the form of "Cylon Syndrome" for the BSG people out there, or in losing a character and creating a whole new one from scratch), I think PvP can really complicate things. I've seen players get upset and leave RPGing altogether because of a PvP-gone-personal, and while we'd like to think that our players should be above that, the nature of roleplay is that we take on a persona when we play - and that has consequences when facing other players.

There was one mission I did where I had PvP between players and it worked well: they were actually two of the groups I GM, and since they are playing in the same world at the same time, both of the groups had mentioned independently that they'd like to try their hand at PvP. So they were set on opposite sides of an objective (trying to steal or defend a particular item of fill-in-the-blank power), and we had some combat. The two groups were full of very agreeable people, and interestingly enough, none of them took the killing blow when it was offered. I think they enjoyed getting to showcase their skills so much that it quickly became more of a, "I want to show you not to mess with us, because we can do X" than it was about, "Give us the object or die," and I think that was key to the success of the PvP.

TL;DR: If PvP is used to highlight the strengths of players, not their weaknesses necessarily, we have a better chance of it going well, as the player walks away with something they can put their finger on and say, "Okay, _that_ was awesome."

Robinxen
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Useful Insight

Perhaps it is because of my two test groups being used to killing each other off for fun, whether that's in zombies or Cthulhu related games, that this became a popular idea that was batted around. In fact my test group from my former school even in serious RPG campaigns often pick on, and end up killing, at least one of the characters in their party.

Since the "roleplay" aspect of the game was really toned down to more of a dungeoncrawl hack and slash style gameplay I was hoping to be able to push the idea of the actions being about moving the campaign forward for the party, than the preservation of your personal character.
"Yeah this character will die, but we will complete the objective" type reasoning. Combat segments usually take about 30 minutes, and once a segment is done a player can jump straight back in with a new character so death isn't a boring or punishing act.

As per your feelings though I won't make any specific rules for it, I'll just leave a nod for it as a possibility.

pelle
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Players killing each other a

Players killing each other a lot and quickly generating new characters sounds like Paranoia. (New version kickstarted recently, still waiting for it to be printed... not sure if I will play or if it will just gather dust together with my old collection of Paranoia stuff).

It should be possible to balance campaigns by some kind of feedback loop to make sure weaker players will catch up. Or you can make it possible for the weaker players to team up against runaway leaders. But if characters are killed off a lot (like in Paranoia) it should not be much of a problem anyway.

Soulfinger
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Paranoia is one of the best

Paranoia is one of the best games ever, although I can't imagine an edition without Jim Holloway's artwork. The great thing about it was that you have 6 clones, so even though death was frequent (sometimes a replacement clone would be deployed in a way that results in a total party kill), you would essentially play the same characters. This game could have something very similar, actually. Seeing as how you are dealing with alternate realities, a dead character could be replaced by one of his doubles, over and over again.

In any case, PvP sounds like something that should be reserved for a future expansion. You are going to want to keep a list of all of the great possibilities that this setting has to offer but keep the initial offering scaled back and manageable.

Zag24
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Paranoia is a fun break from

Paranoia is a fun break from regular role-playing, but I find it hard to imagine playing it for a long campaign like I have done with D&D, Pathfinder, d20 Modern, etc. -- games where you really become invested in your character. The high churn of player deaths discourages this sort of emotional investment.

Back to the original question: if your game is more like a board game, but with RPG aspects, and the players are not expecting to come back next week and continue playing this character that they have come to care about, then PvP is a fine idea! Somebody mentioned heroes vs. zombies, or just competing bands of heroes -- these work great in a board game-ish environment, with or without RPG aspects.

By "RPG aspects" I assume you mean what the video games call RPGs, that is, where characters progress in levels/skills/abilities as they earn experience. To us old-timers, has very little to do with role-playing (which is more about personality and acting skill), but I do understand that it is what the term has come to mean. (I played my first game of D&D in 1978, and you young whippersnappers better not try to change my world view or I'll hit you with my cane.)

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