How to resolve fights at the game table

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Role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons are collaborative.

The players work together to create a story, battle monsters, and enjoy epic adventure.

It all works great. Until it doesn't.

Sometimes, players get in fights with players (or their characters fight each other), and that’s never good for the group, the game or the campaign.

So how to resolve it when things come to head? We can help.

Ask yourself if it’s a one-time thing or a persistent problem. Sometimes the lawful good paladin gets annoyed with the chaotic neutral rogue, and they fight. It happens. That’s not as big of a deal as a player who consistently makes antagonistic characters or another who always causes trouble.

If characters are about to come to blows, help find a rational way to work it out. Maybe they actually fight, but should it be lethal damage? To the death? Or would it be better to create some other kind of competition? It might be more fun for the characters to see how many orcs each one can kill in the next dungeon or something like that. They don’t necessarily have to fight each other.

If two characters are always bickering, find a way to fix it. That may involve asking the players to calm it down or to step outside of the game for a second and figure out their differences.

Roll new characters. Maybe the two characters who always seem to butt heads need to be replaced. One of them could roll a new character. It could even be a similar character class with a different alignment or backstory.

Take a break. During a long session, it’s always good to step away from the table for a minute. And if things in your weekly or long-running game are coming to a head, maybe you take a week off and let everyone cool down.

Is it one player always causing the problem? Time to take that person aside and address the issue. We all seem to know a guy who specializes in antagonizing other players. That can be funny or entertaining from time to time. If it’s becoming disruptive, approach the player outside of the game and ask them to knock it off or at least tone it down.

Can’t resolve the conflict? Ask that person to leave the game. This is a last resort, but if one player’s actions consistently bother the other players, disrupt the game, or cause trouble, maybe it’s best for everyone if they don’t play in that campaign any more.

Start a new campaign. Maybe this D&D campaign has too much baggage. This is the nuclear option, but a fresh start with a new story and characters could save your friendship and enjoyment of the game.

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