Team (Gaming with Conflicting Personalities, PaizoCon Countdown: 6)

Temple of Shadows - Tease

Gaming in Organized Play often means playing with people you don’t know which sometimes can be playing with people you don’t like. While we can hope that people coming to the event are all coming in the same spirit even small nuances in play style can be challenging to adapt to. Today we are going to look at a few ideas for keeping the play at the table easy going and easier on you.

Tips for Personality Conflict at the Table

No one is going to desire or create the same experience gaming as anyone else will. Differences in expectations, rules viewpoints, or character generation can set up issues before play even begins. The key to remember is that aside from the aside from the stated rules of your Organized Play (or even a home game pickup) the only person you can control is yourself. Consider the following:

  • Keep It In Character – Probably the best advice for table conflict is to keep in character. This immediately puts a layer of insulation between you and and the other player. Differences or conflicts have to be filtered into the game world, into the mindset of your character, roleplayed in game to the other character and the reacted to. Many times you will realize in the action that your character doesn’t mind something you do or is incapable of perceiving it, so reacting becomes less important. In character conversations tend to loop in the whole party and probably will get someone out of line censored by the entire group as opposed to having an out of character argument.
  • Rulings Are For GMs – Debating rules with strangers who aren’t running the game is often a waste of time. If you see things differently than another player it is likely the event GM will see things differently too. And it is THEIR ruling that matters. Don’t waste energy with an engagement that will ultimately not resolve without the GM overruling one or both of you.
  • Appeal to Fun – No one goes to a convention wanting to have a bad experience. That essential truth can be very empowering if you can identify what a conflicting players motives are. Maybe they just want to kill orcs and have no concern for the ancient history that motivates your character. Great. Celebrate their successes and their fun becomes your fun, increasing the chances they will ge involved with your fun.
  • Remember Your Origin – You know your story and your gaming experiences. You don’t know theirs. It may be their first game ever, the first Convention experience outside of their regular house-ruled games, or they may have experience with other games or systems that are confusing their decisions or behaviors. Maybe it DOESN’T provoke attack of opportunities in their weekly house-ruled game.
  • When In Doubt: Open and Ask – If you can’t understand a behavior from another player, and being polite or addressing the issue in game is failing, remember you can always tell the player “I’d like to have a quick out-of-character conversation.” If they are open to that use open ended questions (What is your intention in treating my gnome like that?) or I-statements (I feel pretty crappy about how your character is treating mine.) to get your points accross. Do not project your perception on to the situation or accuse, if the are unaware of the situation, the may ACTUALLY become adversarial.
  • Appeal to the Group – If all else fails, you can turn to the other members of your game party and GM, but refrain from this until you are certain a one-on-one approach is not viable. Turning an entire group on an undeserving person can be as bad as having a conflict in the first time.

Remember the above advice if for dealing with personalities that are rough or otherwise challenging. It IS NOT meant to advise tolerating a situation where you don’t feel safe. If you feel in danger from another player, it is best to inform the GM or event staff and remove yourself from the situation. Many organizers can get you involved in a new activity or address the situation with the other party.

We at Lost Spheres Publishing might disagree with you from time-to-time, but only because we want to make your characters even cooler. You can see how when you pre-order the Book of Beyond WIP subcription or see our other products at:, drivethruRPG, paizo and RPGNow.

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