December 30, 2019

How DMs/GMs Can Best Manage Conflict in Their Stories

A few weeks ago, we discussed managing sources of conflict from a worldbuilder’s point of view. Today on #GMAdvice we’ll talk about the same topic from the GM’s POV.

  1. Level of Difficulty: For a GM, it’s important to be able to set expectations with your players when providing them context. Having a pulse on how difficult each conflict type is/would be, without knowing how players might try and solve, is important because you’ll be able to better use that information to help guide your players.

Having your players all die because they attempted something well outside their purview on your (the GM’s) advice is a great way to lose a table forever.

  1. Relationship between People/Faction(s) and the Sources of Conflict: For story purposes, it’s critically important that players can both intrinsically know details about the conflict they’re confronting as well as uncover additional information through their own cunning .

Taking the Montague and Capulet example from a few Mondays ago, if that were a TTRPG campaign, perhaps a diplomatic solution could be found by uncovering various reasons for the conflict in the first place and using that knowledge to broker a truce? Or on the opposite end, leveraging that information with one side to create an alliance to destroy the other side? Or even knowing the weaknesses of each family’s compound and starting a brawl with that information could work.

Either way, having a well-thought-out basis for conflict significantly amplifies the perceived (and likely actual) rewards of solving. The players become invested in the solution and gain greater satisfaction from both the rewards and consequences.

Giving your players that anchor point into the conflict with these themes is going to go a along way to gaining a greater and greater investment level from your players!